Drink driver, 26, caught at roadside avoids jail as she claims she only started guzzling wine AFTER breaking down | The Sun

A DRINK driver who refused to take a breath test has avoided jail after claiming she only downed two bottles of wine when she broke down.

Elizabeth McKnight, 26, was ordered by cops to take the test after they found her sozzled by a grass verge near her stationary car.

But the mum-of-two refused twice as she claimed she was only drinking at the side of the road while waiting for her dad to pick her up.

McKnight also told officers she had dumped the two empty bottles of wine on the embankment in Chester but nothing was found.

Police instead discovered a near-empty bottle in the footwell of her Nissan Qashqai, which was uninsured.

The driver, from Cheshire, faced a six month jail sentence after she admitted failing to provide a specimen of breath but avoided prison.

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She was instead handed a 12-month community order, banned from driving for two years and ordered to complete 60 days unpaid work.

McKnight was also told to carry out 20 rehabilitation activity days with the probation service and given a bill of £234 in costs and a victim surcharge.

Chester Magistrates' Court was told the mum had parked up on the verge by the A55 on August 6 when she was spotted by police.

They checked the car out and discovered it had not been insured for almost a month.

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Officers then noticed McKnight was "unsteady" on her feet and close to the edge of the road.

Arron Smith, prosecuting, said: "She was detained in the police vehicle. The officer noted that she smelt of intoxicating liquor. Her eyes were glazed and red and her words were slurred when she spoke.

“She admitted to driving the vehicle. She said that she’d had two bottles of wine since the vehicle had broken down and had thrown the bottles down the grass verge.

"The officer said he was unable to find the two bottles on the verge, but that a near empty bottle was found in the footwell of the passenger seat.

“She refused to give a roadside sample and she was arrested and taken into custody where the drink drive procedure was commenced.

“She again refused to provide a sample of breath in custody.”

The court was told McKnight, who has two previous convictions for dodging fares on the railway, had been at her father's home earlier in the evening where she had some cider.

She admitted drinking the wine while sat on the grass verge waiting for her dad to pick her up after she broke down.

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Sentencing, chairman of the bench Roy Barron said: "Failing to provide a sample is a very serious offence.

"If it wasn’t, nobody would give a sample. We kind of assume that you were drunk and that's why you didn't do it."

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