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Armagh woman with bottle of wine at feet was drink driving day after losing job

Offence committed months after defendant passed driving test

An Armagh woman who was caught by police over the legal drink drive limit with a bottle of wine at her feet in the car has been banned from driving for 12 months.

Court heard the 36-year-old, who had no record, had lost her job the previous day and had only held a licence for a matter of months.

Maxine Best, 36, of Killuney Road, pleaded guilty to driving whilst unfit and failing to provide a specimen of breath at Craigavon Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday.

Court heard that on June 28, at 11.39pm, police received a report of a woman driving a Smart car on Bridge Street, Portadown, who appeared to be under the influence as she was swerving over the white line.

At around 12.15am, officers spotted a vehicle matching this description parked outside Gary’s Bar, on Bridge Street.

As police approached it was noted that the two nearside tyres of the car were flat.

Officers spoke to the defendant, who was in the vehicle and observed a bottle of Barefoot wine at her feet.

Best was arrested after failing to provide a preliminary breath test at the roadside.

In custody, a breath sample was taken between 1.36am and 2.33am which gave a reading of 48mg of alcohol in 100ml of breath.

Court was told that at 2.20am a blood sample was taken which, when tested, showed also that the defendant was over the drink drive limit.

Defence counsel stated that a report had been provided to the judge that put the events in context.

District Judge Bernie Kelly commented: “I would have appreciated that if she had not put other people’s lives at risk.”

Defence counsel said: “This woman has never been before the court before. The day prior to this offence she lost her employment.”

He added: “She was not thinking straight. She had only been driving since March of this year which will not make disqualification any easier.”

Best was banned from driving for 12 months and ordered to pay a fine o £300, along with the offender’s levy of £15, within 10 weeks.

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