Drink-driving woman was four times over limit – but escapes ban because she only drove two feet

Eastlea Road, Seaham
Eastlea Road, Seaham
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A woman who got behind the wheel when she was almost four times over the limit has escaped a ban - because she drove just two feet.

Caroline Robinson has been allowed to keep her licence after persuading magistrates not to punish her with a disqualification.

In hindsight, I wish I hadn’t done it.

Caroline Robinson

Most who breach the limit are given a minimum of a 12-month ban from the roads.

But the bench at Peterlee - which warned her the offence was so serious she could have been sent to jail - decided against giving her a ban after hearing she had only driven a foot in both a forward and backwards direction.

The court was told Robinson knocked a car parked in front of her in the process, with the bump heard by a neighbour, who then called police.

Lewis Kerr, prosecuting, said a blood test showed the 42-year-old had 328microgrammes of alcohol in 100millitres of blood. The legal limit is 80microgrammes.

The court also heard Robinson, of Essex Crescent, Eastlea, Seaham, had hidden the vodka and coke she had been drinking when officers arrived to speak to her.

The incident happened on Eastlea Road on February 15, when Robinson decided to move her partner’s VW Golf while he was out at dominoes.

The car had been left jutting out into the road by a friend who had replaced a tyre after vandals had carried out a spate of slash attacks in the street. Robinson said she moved it because she was worried it would be damaged by passing cars.

Robinson, who said no damage was caused in the collision, told the court: “It was basically a foot, just to straighten it, I more or less came out of the parking space, I didn’t come out onto the road. In hindsight, I wish I hadn’t done it.”

Robinson said after she went back into the house, she continued to drink, which she said would have made her alcohol reading higher. She told the court she had hid her drink because she had been scared when police turned up.

Deciding not to disqualify her, chairman of the bench Kathleen Ireland said: “We find there was a lack of intention to drive, it was a very short distance that was driven and there wasn’t a clear danger to other road users.”

Robinson was given 11 penalty points on her licence, fined £275, ordered to pay £85 in court costs and a victim surcharge of £27.50.

A spokesperson for road safety charity Brake said: “Anyone who drinks and drives should expect to face the consequences, no matter what the circumstances.

“Drink driving remains one of the biggest killers on our roads, and allowing offenders to escape a ban sends out the wrong message. Getting behind the wheel after drinking any amount of alcohol is potentially very dangerous, which is why Brake supports a zero-tolerance limit of 20mg per 100ml of blood.”