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Drink driver caught ‘high reading for three o’clock in the afternoon’ handed 14-month ban

The district judge said: 'She is given credit for her guilty plea, but this was a high reading for three o'clock in the afternoon'

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A woman was caught driving whilst over twice the legal limit in the afternoon in a next day detection.

The 26-year-old’s barrister told court that his client’s job would be in jeopardy if a ban was imposed.

Rebecca Ballantine, of Coolnacran Park, Loughbrickland, had a guilty plea entered on her behalf to driving with excess alcohol at Banbridge Magistrates’, sitting at Lisburn, on Thursday.

Prosecution outlined that at 3pm on May 27, police received a report of a BMW being driven erratically in the Banbridge area.

Officers arrived at the scene and spoke to the defendant, who was the driver of the car in question.

They observed that Ballantine appeared intoxicated.

An evidential sample was later provided following her arrest at Lurgan Custody Suite, and this revealed a reading of 78mg of alcohol in 100ml of breath.

Defence solicitor Ruari Gillen stated: “This is a lady with no criminal record, she has been driving for five years and this was a next day detection.

“She had been drinking the night before, she spent most of the morning in her home, she had not eaten food and then decided to drive the short distance to Banbridge.”

He added that his client’s job as a manager at a healthcare centre just outside Newry was in jeopardy, as her wage would not be adequate to pay for transport.

District Judge Nigel Broderick commented: “She is given credit for her guilty plea, but this was a high reading for three o’clock in the afternoon.”

Ballantine was disqualified from driving for 14 months and was ordered to pay a fine of £300, along with offender’s levy of £15.

The defendant was certified for the drink driving course which would see her ban reduced by one quarter upon completion.

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