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Marie Douglas had crashed into a parked vehicle in torrential rain on her way home. She claimed to have only drank two glasses of wine however, her breath test revealed that she was nearly three times above the limit.
The legal limit in breath is 35ųg, which means that to be almost three times over the limit Ms Douglas’ reading must have been close to 100ųg. As if the high reading itself was not serious enough, there were aggravating features in that Ms Douglas had not even passed her driving test, which also meant that even if there was insurance on the car, it would have been invalidated. The most serious aggravating feature was of course the fact that she had three children in the back of her car. They were aged 16, 9 and 5.
Ms Douglas appeared at Manchester City Magistrates Court having admitted driving with excess alcohol, driving without due care and attention, driving without a valid certificate of insurance and driving without a valid licence.
Ms Douglas has now been bailed to re-appear at Court on 17th July as her case has been adjourned for an “all-options” report. This means that the Magistrates are giving serious consideration to imposing a custodial sentence. Ms Douglas will need to meet with the Probation Service who will assess her and make recommendations to the Court accordingly.
Had any of these incidents occurred in isolation then it is highly unlikely that Ms Douglas would be facing the prospect of a custodial sentence: if her breath reading was over 90ųg (but under 120ųg) and there were no other offences then she would be facing a disqualification period of at least 23 months with the possibility of a community penalty being imposed. Technically, a custodial sentence can be passed for any drink driving offence, however the guidelines suggest that in order to be liable for a custodial sentence, a reading should be over 120ųg.
Clearly, the reason the Magistrates are considering all options is the fact that Ms Douglas had three children in her car, coupled with there being other aggravating features on top of the offence of driving with excess alcohol.