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Drink driver ‘got carried away in the emotion of New Year’s Eve’

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A Coleraine woman who was a designated driver “got carried away in the emotion of New Year’s Eve” and took a couple of bottles of WKD before being detected over the limit after visiting a McDonald’s drive-thru.

Paula Dixon (31), a mum-of-five of Hartford Park, appeared at Coleraine Magistrates Court on Friday for sentencing.

It was heard the excess alcohol in breath offence came to light in the early hours of January 1 this year.

The defendant was also behind the wheel despite being disqualified.

A prosecutor said police received a report in the early hours of New Year’s Day of an intoxicated female and they located her parked nearby with four passengers in the vehicle.

She had a reading of 49 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath – the legal limit is 35mcgs.

Defence barrister Francis Rafferty said that despite being the designated driver after going out with friends to celebrate on December 31 she “got carried away in the emotion of New Year’s Eve” and had a couple of bottles of WKD before she was asked to go to McDonald’s in Coleraine.

Mr Rafferty said the defendant had been unaware she was a disqualified driver.

The court heard Dixon’s record showed she had been dealt with previously for not having insurance and a driving licence and the original ban was likely given when the case proceeded in her absence at court.

Regarding the New Year’s Day incident this year, District Judge Peter King imposed a one month jail term, suspended for a year, on the driving whilst disqualified charge and a one year driving ban and £200 fine for the alcohol offence.

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