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Woman drove drunk for second time after row with friend over her ‘alcohol problem’

Suspended jail for woman caught 'drink driving again with a high level of intoxication'

Police night

A Portadown woman has been handed a suspended prison sentence for her second drink-driving offence.

Court heard the 43-year-old drove after having an argument with her friend regarding her consumption of alcohol.

Joanna Zurawska, of Corcrain Drive, pleaded guilty to driving with excess alcohol, driving whilst disqualified and using a vehicle without insurance at Craigavon Magistrates’ Court on Friday.

Court heard that police were contacted with regards to a suspected drink driver on September 18 at around 8.50pm.

The witness stated she had seen the defendant stagger to a car on Wentworth Green, Portadown, before driving off at speed.

At around 9pm officers spotted the car parked in the driveway of a property in Wentworth Green.

They were allowed to enter by the tenant of this house who told them her friend, Zurawska, was the owner of the vehicle in question.

Officers spoke to the defendant in the kitchen of this property noting that her speech was slurred, she was unsteady on her feet and smelt of intoxicating liquor.

A preliminary breath test was failed, and she was taken to Lurgan Custody Suite.

Checks showed that Zurawska was a disqualified driver and as such also had no insurance.

In custody, an evidential reading of 117mg of alcohol in 100ml of breath was obtained.

When interviewed the defendant made full admissions citing “problems in her personal life” as the reason for the offence.

Court heard that Zurawska had previously been disqualified for drink driving.

District Judge Paul Copeland commented: “This offence is aggravated by your significant record and a very high reading.”

Defence solicitor Pat Vernon stated the defendant had “ongoing marital problems which had been the background to the previous offence”.

Mr Vernon commented on this occasion Zurawska had been staying with a friend after a fall out with her husband.

He said the defendant had been drinking for “a number of days” and had gone for a short drive after an argument with her friend over her “alcohol problem”.

Mr Vernon stated Zurawska was now undergoing counselling with her husband and seeking help for her alcohol problem.

He said through this “the root of the problem” was being addressed.

District Judge Copeland stated: “This is a very serious offence. You were a disqualified driver because of excess alcohol in the past.

“This offence is aggravated by not only your breach of a court order but that it was drink driving again with a high level of intoxication.”

Zurawska was sentenced to nine months in prison suspended for two years.

The defendant was also handed a two-year driving ban and ordered to pay a fine of £550, along with the offender’s levy of £15, within 20 weeks.

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