A WOMAN who was caught driving after drinking a large amount of vodka has been banned from driving 30 months.

Jill Nesham, of Brunton Street, Darlington, was pulled over by police on February 22 and found to have an alcohol in breath reading of 126 micrograms. The legal limit is 35.

She admitted a charge of drink-driving when she appeared before magistrates in Newton Aycliffe this week.

Lesley Burgess, prosecuting, said: "The police were contacted with concerns that she was getting in to her car, because she was so intoxicated.

"She had drunk large amounts of vodka and had a verbal altercation.

"The defendant had left in a Ford Fiesta, and clipped the wing mirror of a parked car.

"The police then located the vehicle at the defendant's home address where they have spoken to her.

"She says she hadn't been driving and came home by a taxi but through the information that had been received by police, she was arrested.

"Later she states to police that she had done it because there were arguments going on and she wanted to get away."

Ms Burgess said Nesham's previous convictions included drink driving in 2005.

She also had further driving convictions including failing to stop after an accident and failing to report an accident, but she had not been before the court for some years, since the 2000s, Ms Burgess said.

Nesham was unrepresented but probation officers who carried out a pre-sentence report said she had been drinking large measures of vodka and coke at a gathering.

Her partner's sister then turned up at the gathering and the pair had a verbal altercation.

"She was fearful that this may escalate to some kind of physical altercation," said the probation report.

"She made the wrong decision to get in the car and try to drive home.

"She is very cross with herself that she didn't just call a taxi."

Probation officers said it was a shock to mother-of-two Nesham when discussing her regular alcohol intake with her, that hers was excessive.

Her relationship had also broken down following the incident – something she was struggling to cope with at the present time, they said.

Nesham presented the court with a character reference from her employer.

She was given a 12-month community order and ordered to take part in the 'drink impaired driving' programme.

She was given a 30-month driving ban and was also ordered to pay £85 costs and an £85 victim surcharge.