A woman caught driving at Rolleston with a high breath-alcohol level while her two young children were in the back seat admits it was “just stupidity” that she was driving.
Melanie Susan Trebilco, 38, has already “taken steps to deal with her alcohol situation”, defence counsel Donald Dickson told the Christchurch District Court today.
Trebilco pleaded guilty before Community Magistrate Leigh Langridge to the charge of driving with excess blood alcohol after being caught at a random stop in Tennyson Street on December 9.
Her alcohol level was 1157mcg of alcohol to a litre of breath, when the legal limit is 250mcg.
Police said at the time that she then refused to let police escort her children to the police station after the traffic stop. She told police she would not put the children aged 3 and 9 years at risk in the back of a police car without child restraints.
When she was stopped at 3.12pm, police noticed a strong smell of alcohol on her breath. She told police: “I have only had two glasses of wine with the girls at lunchtime.”
Police commented at the time that she had been caught driving at more than four times the legal limit of 250mcg in an area where many children were leaving Rolleston Primary School and daycare centre, crossing the road at pedestrian crossings, or on the footpath, and there were other cars with parents picking their own children up.
Mr Dickson said she had been stopped at random and not because of any bad driving. She had no previous convictions for any offences, and had entered an early guilty plea. “She says it was just stupidity that she was driving.”
Community Magistrate Langridge said it was an extremely high level, but she noted that there had been no bad driving, Trebilco had co-operated with the police, had pleaded guilty, and she had “self-referred for the appropriate assistance”.
She imposed a fine of $1000 and disqualified her from driving for eight months, but warned Trebilco: “You have to know that if you come back for another similar offence, the penalty is going to be far more severe.”