Jail time for repeat drunk driver

A chronic alcoholic who couldn't resist repeatedly getting behind the wheel despite court orders has landed in jail.

Nicole Davidson, 49, appeared for sentencing in the Whangarei District Court last week after earlier pleading guilty to two charges of drink driving, two of driving while disqualified and one of breach of bail.

Even an impassioned plea by her lawyer Kelly Ellis couldn't convince Judge John McDonald who said public protection was paramount in any sentencing.

Ms Ellis urged a sentence of home detention but the judge said that wouldn't stop her from drinking and possibly getting behind the wheel again.

There was only one police officer in Waipu where Davidson lived and that the response time for a security company in case of an emergency was 30 minutes, Judge McDonald said.

Davidson was stopped by police driving in Waipu on December 19, 2012 and tests revealed she had 468 micrograms of alcohol in her breath. The legal limit for those over 20 years of age is 400mcg.

She told police she was alcoholic and was trying to find a place in a recovery centre without success. She was released on bail with a condition that she was not to drive.

About 5.30pm on March 20 this year, she was again stopped in Waipu and blood tests showed she had 171 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitre of blood.

The legal limit is 80mg per 100ml of blood.

Judge McDonald said her blood level equated to 855mcg or twice over the legal limit. There had been a vast amount of publicity, he said, supported by scientific evidence on the dangers of drink driving.

"Every person who's drink driving is playing Russian roulette with innocent road users."

Davidson was convicted of drink driving in 2002 and twice in 2010 when she was sentenced to home detention and given a final warning but she breached her sentence. She was again twice convicted of the charge in 2012 and the sentencing judge didn't invoke the final warning and again sentenced her to four months' home detention.

Judge McDonald said Davidson would either drink herself to death or kill someone on the road. He imposed a sentence of 14 months in jail.

- By Imran Ali of the Northern Advocate

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