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Carl Millar recently read an article in the Manchester Evening News.
The case involved a mother who was five times over the drink drive limit and was caught behind the wheel with her two young daughters sitting in the back of the vehicle.
The facts of the case were that the police were tipped off and watched Laura Knowles drive out of a car park with her 4 and 5 year old daughters inside. Ms Knowles had driven down the middle of the road without her lights on.
She was stopped by the police and gave a reading of 187ųg of alcohol in 100ml of breath. The limit is 35ųg.
Ms Knowles pleaded guilty to driving with excess alcohol and being drunk in charge of children under 7.
She was given a 3 month suspended jail sentence and disqualified from driving for a period of 3 years, and also ordered to pay £85 prosecution costs. To make matters worse, at a previous hearing, it was stated that at one stage Ms Knowles had 4 of her children with her in the Dutton Arms in Eccles on Easter Saturday.
In mitigation, Miss Winstanley for the defence stated that this was an isolated incident and that Ms Knowles was completely devastated. Amazingly, she thought that she was okay to drive and Miss Winstanley said on behalf of Ms Knowles, “she was fully cooperative with the police and honestly believed that she was alright to drive”. The District Judge passed sentence and commented that with the amount of alcohol in her system, Ms Knowles was a grave danger not only to herself and her children, but to the general public. The District Judge said, “I don’t think I have come across a higher reading. There is nothing I can do but to pass a custodial sentence – but I will suspend it”.
This was a very high reading and Ms Knowles was very lucky indeed to avoid an actual custodial sentence. The starting point at any reading above 120ųg is a 12 week custodial sentence. Furthermore, the Magistrates Court Guidelines only provide guidance of readings between 120-150ųg, and with a reading of 187ųg the defendant was literally off the scales. On a different day she may well have received an actual custodial sentence. There were aggravating features in this ladies’ case, given the fact that she has her two children with her as passengers and she was driving in the middle of the road without her lights on.
If you do require assistance from specialist solicitors on a nationwide basis, or in Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham or London for drink driving then please do not hesitate to contact us.