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Driving ban for Loughgall woman who was over four times legal drink drive limit

Defendant caught at 2.30pm originally said she had not drunk alcohol since previous day

A Loughgall woman who was found to be driving whilst more than four times the legal limit has been disqualified for 16 months.

Court heard the 51-year-old, who was detected at around 2.30pm, claimed she had been drinking the previous day.

Sharon Halligan, of Orchard Park, pleaded guilty to driving with excess alcohol in her breath at Armagh Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday.

Court heard that on October 20 police received a report claiming that the defendant almost caused an accident on the Old Road, Loughgall.

Officers attended Halligan’s home address where she admitted to driving but said she had not consumed alcohol that day.

The defendant failed a preliminary breath test and an evidential reading was later taken showing 147mg of alcohol in 100 ml of breath.

Defence counsel informed the court that the offence had taken place at around 2.30pm adding: “She still had alcohol in her system from the previous day but thankfully there was no accident.”

He added: “Ms Halligan had planned on travelling to Portadown but thought better of it after the incident.”

Court also learned that although she denied it to police, the defendant now said she did consume alcohol prior to police arriving at her home.

Court heard Halligan was a full-time carer for her mother and had no major convictions on her record.

Defence counsel said: “My client accepts that she was well over the legal limit.”

He added that Halligan had consumed the equivalent of a half bottle or quarter bottle of vodka the day prior to the offence.

District Judge Paul Copeland stated: “This is a very heavy level of intoxication which poses a significant danger on the road to yourself and others.”

He added that he found it difficult to accept that this reading was the result of drinking alcohol the previous day.

In this case, District Judge Copeland said that an advanced penalty was in order as he disqualified Halligan from driving for 16 months.

In addition, the defendant was ordered to pay a fine of £400, along with the offender’s levy of £15, within 12 weeks.

Halligan was also certified for the drink driving course which if completed would see her ban reduced to one of 12 months.

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