Tracy Smith, 38, was arrested after police found she was more than three times over the alcohol limit while behind the wheel of her VW Transport van. Pictured: Holding her baby bump while arriving for court
A pregnant mother caught drink-driving has escaped jailed after claiming she needed to stay free to care for her family.
Tracy Smith, 38, was arrested after police found she was more than three times over the alcohol limit while behind the wheel of her VW Transport van.
Smith, of Winwick, Warrington, was so intoxicated that onlookers in the Tesco car park she was arrested in believed she was having a stroke.
Tests revealed the mother-of-two, who carries out voluntary work at Warrington Crown Court, had 114 micrograms of alcohol in 100 mililitres of breath following her arrest on June 8. The legal limit is 35mg.
Smith, who is expecting her third child in February with her new partner, admitted she drunk vodka and wine at home before driving to the supermarket to buy food. It is understood she did not know she was pregnant at the time.
Smith admitted driving with excess alcohol at Manchester Magistrates’ Court, but was ordered to complete 100 hours unpaid work after a probation report said she was ‘under a lot of stress’ following her split with her husband of 20 years.
She was also banned from driving for two years and has given up alcohol.
Prosecutor Tess Kenyon said: ‘The incident occurred around 7pm when passersby saw Mrs Smith in her car which was stationary, and said she looked as if she was having a stroke or going through a medical episode. She then drove to a nearby Tesco.
‘Police arrived, and Mrs Smith was sat in the car with the engine running. She was arrested, with a lowest breath reading of 114.’
A probation report compiled by an unnamed author was read to the hearing. It said Smith cared for her two children, aged 14 and 16.
It added the youngest child was living with her former partner as they do not like her new boyfriend. It added Smith had ‘been under a lot of stress and pressure, and turned to alcohol’.
The report continued: ‘She had not intended to drink and drive, but had drank vodka and wine at home before leaving to get groceries.
‘She felt a bit woozy in the car. She showed genuine remorse and had a good level of victim empathy.
‘She thinks about it every day and how she could have hurt someone. She lives with her partner, 16 year old daughter and step son. Her daughter has cerebral palsy and epilepsy, and is a wheelchair user.
Tracy Smith leaving Manchester Magistrates Court following her hearing
‘Mrs Smith is her full time carer. Her step son also suffers from muscular disabilities. She is pregnant and the baby is due in February.
‘Mrs Smith has OCD and uses antidepressants to control it. Giving her a more stringent punishment would be a detriment to her mental health and she needs to care for her children, so the outcome should be considered.’
The report went on to recommend that she carry out unpaid work and that putting a curfew on her ‘could have been considered but it would have a detriment on her children’s lives, as she takes them to activities’.
It concluded: ‘She has no issues with substance misuse, and has stopped drinking since the incident.’
In mitigation defence lawyer Imran Majid said: ‘Looking at Mrs Smith’s circumstances she has a daughter with cerebral palsy and epilepsy and is the primary carer for her step son, and is pregnant due next February.
‘She accepts she will be disqualified but I am asking for a lesser ban. She could also take a drink driving course which she would be willing to do.’
Smith was also ordered to pay court costs of £170.