A MOTHER who was almost three times the drink-drive limit when she crashed a car containing her young son has escaped jail.
Sharon Jane Wharton, 44, had previously pleaded guilty to one count of driving while over the limit with her eight-year-old son in the car.
The court heard that Wharton, of Field Avenue in Thorpe Willoughby, who has a previous conviction for child cruelty, “smelled strongly of alcohol” when officers arrived at the scene after her silver Mondeo collided with a bollard in the middle of the road.
Mark Thompson, defending, said: “Her intention that night had been to stay over at her sister’s house. Something happened, which Mrs Wharton cannot recall, which then made her make the foolish decision to drive home after she had been
The court heard Wharton attempted to complete a roadside breath test, but after three attempts no usable sample was given, so she was arrested by police and a blood sample was taken which showed 226mgs of alcohol per 100mls of blood. The
legal level is 80mgs.
Mr Thompson said neither Wharton nor her son were injured in the crash, which took place in Sherburn-in-Elmet on January 3 at 10.25pm, but said the high alcohol reading was aggravated by the fact a young child was also in the car.
“The incident happened two days before the anniversary of her husband’s death and so, although she knows it does not excuse her behaviour, it was a very difficult time for her,” he said. “Mrs Wharton has no similar previous convictions and she expresses shame and remorse over what she has done. She is a single parent and she has had personal difficulties in her life but is working very well with numerous agencies to address these difficulties.”
Sentencing Wharton at Selby Magistrates Court last Thursday, chairman of the bench Brian Wood said: “We were seriously considering sending you to prison. You are fortunate you are here today at a law court and not at a coroner’s court.”
Wharton was given a custodial sentence of 12 weeks, suspended for 12 months. She was also given a community order for 12 months which requires her to complete 250 hours of unpaid work and was given a 12 week electronic curfew to stay at home between 9pm and 5am. She has been disqualified from driving for three years, which can be reduced by nine months if she successfully completes a drink driving rehabilitation scheme, and must pay £85 court costs and an £80 victim surcharge.
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