Woman four times over drink drive limit handed four-year ban

A woman found to be four times over the drink drive limit has narrowly escaped a jail sentence.

Dawn Lax’s reading of 141mcg of alcohol in 100ml of breath was the highest recorded by North Yorkshire Police during their Christmas crackdown on drink drivers.

The 43-year-old was tested after a member of the public reported her Ford Fiesta stopped on a blind bend on the B6271 in Richmond on December 3.

On arrival officers carried out a breath test on the defendant who provided a reading which was around four times over the legal alcohol limit.

Lax appeared for sentence at York Magistrates’ Court on Friday.

The court heard that Lax, from of Ellerton Park, Ellerton-upon-Swale, had become a “dependent drinker” during the Covid lockdown.

Lax, who represented herself in court, said she was aware she was over the limit as she was driving through Kiplin.

She said she was a carer for her mother and would lose her job if she were jailed. She claimed she had not touched alcohol since the turn of the year.

Mr I Nicholson, chairman of the magistrates’ bench, said it was “clear” that Lax had an alcohol problem.

He said that “such was (her) level of alcohol” at the time of her arrest that a jail sentence had to be considered.

He described Lax’s driving while so intoxicated as “unacceptable”.

He said that for this reason he saw no reason why the magistrates’ bench should veer away from a prison sentence.

However, he said they agreed with the Probation Service that Lax could be rehabilitated, which meant the jail sentence could be suspended.

The 12-week prison sentence was suspended for two years but Lax must complete a 90-day alcohol-abstinence programme which requires her to wear an electronic-monitoring tag.

Mr Nicholson told her: “Should you consume alcohol and the Probation Service bring you back to court, you know what the consequences will be.

“We are taking you at your word that you now control what has brought you here today and that you will not drink.”

Lax was banned from driving for four years and ordered to complete an 18-day rehabilitation course.

She was ordered to pay £85 prosecution costs and a £154 statutory surcharge.