A CARLISLE woman suspected of drink driving has been given a three-year ban after she failed to provide a breath specimen to the police.

At the city’s Rickergate court, a lawyer for Alice Kean, 32, said that she had struggled to provide the necessary second breath sample when asked to by the police as a result of her 'distress' and 'panic'.

The defendant had denied wrongdoing but she admitted the offence on the day she was due to face a trial. Prosecutor Peter Kelly said Kean, of Runnerstone Court, Carlisle, committed the offence on Boxing Day last year.

She came to the attention of police as she drove along Victoria Road, Carlisle, shortly before 1am, the court heard. “Police were concerned about the manner of her driving,” said Mr Kelly.

“As a consequence, the driver was spoken to and asked to provide a breath sample at the roadside.”

That sample gave a positive result, but police still required further “evidential” breath specimens. Though the first reading appeared to produce a result of 82mcg of alcohol per 100mls of breath – more than twice the drink drive limit – the defendant struggled to provide a further correct breath sample, said Mr Kelly.

Referring to her earlier driving on Victoria Road, the prosecutor said police described this as “erratic.”  When asked if she had consumed alcohol in the previous 24 hours, she accepted that she had.

Chloe Booth, defending, said that Kean suffered from panic attacks. “I’ve seen sufficient information to know that that is the case,” said the barrister.

Miss Booth said video footage showed clearly that the defendant was extremely distressed. The first attempt to obtain a breath alcohol reading was successful. However, the attempt to obtain a second confirmatory reading did not succeed.

“She was struggling for breath,” said Miss Booth. Her distress was significant, and she was panicking and unable to provided the required second breath sample. The defendant’s anxiety and stress was significant, and had led to her taking time off work.

The inevitable conviction would also be professionally embarrassing for the defendant, who worked as an account, said Miss Booth.

Deputy District Judge Imran Hussain accepted that Kean made “some effort” to provide the necessary breath samples. While she had frustrated the process by not providing a second sample in accordance with her instructions, her actions had fallen a little short of a “deliberate failure,” observed the judge.

The judge said: “You are no doubt fully aware that drink driving, and offences of this type are really very serious because you cause risk very much to yourself and to other road users.” The judge also noted police observations of her “erratic” driving.

Deputy District Judge Hussain remarked also that Kean had a similar offence – for drink driving - on her record from 2012. But she was genuinely remorseful.

The judge gave Kean a three-year driving ban and fined her £275, with £150 costs and a £34 victim surcharge.

The defendant was also offered a drink driver rehabilitation course. All defendants convicted of a second drink drive type offence within a ten-year period face a minimum three-year ban.