A mother was ordered to wear an electronic ‘sobriety tag’ after driving her uninsured Audi 4×4 with three times the alcohol limit while taking two young children home from lunch.
Rhian Hughes, 41, failed a breath and blood test after drinking two glasses of cider during the day, just hours after enjoying a Prosecco binge with her friends the night before.
Police said the mother-of-two got into a fight with officers when she was pulled over for ‘tailgating’ an off-duty special agent.
Her nine-year-old child and a five-year-old family friend were in her Q3 TDI SE vehicle at the time.
Rhian Hughes photographed outside Crewe court after drinking two glasses of cider during the day, just hours after enjoying a Prosecco binge with her friends the night before
Hughes was driving an uninsured Audi 4×4 with two young children in the car
A breath test showed Hughes had 112 micrograms of alcohol per 100 milliliters of breath, the legal limit being 35 milligrams, while a subsequent blood test showed she had 224 milligrams of alcohol in 100 milliliters of blood in her system.
The legal limit in blood is 80 mg. Further investigation revealed that the vehicle’s insurance had expired leading up to the incident.
At Crewe District Court, Hughes of Winsford was ordered to abstain from alcohol for 120 days.
A tag will take alcohol readings of her sweat every 30 minutes, and the results will be relayed to authorities through a computer base unit placed in her home.
On 9 July 2022 at 3pm after Hughes was caught driving erratically on the A50 in Holmes Chapel.
Miss Stephanie Fanello, prosecutor, said: ‘At 2:44 p.m., the police received a call from Mr. King, an off-duty special constable. He said the defendant chased him and swerved across the road.
Mr. King stopped his car and confronted the driver in her white Audi vehicle. He said the suspect was heavily intoxicated and had two children in the car. He said she doubled her words and was unsteady on her feet.
Officers arrived and confirmed that the defendant was unsteady on her feet, her eyes were glassy and she was speaking with double tongue.
Standing by the roadside, she became fickle and quarrelsome with the officers. She was clearly intoxicated, acting disorderly, cursing and stumbling about and not fit for driving a motor vehicle.
The mother was driving three times the alcohol limit as her blood test showed she had 224 milligrams of alcohol in 100 ml of blood in her system
On 9 July 2022 at 3pm after Hughes was caught driving erratically on the A50 at Holmes Chapel
A Condliffe officer tried to make sure she stayed near the police vehicle and she became confrontational when she started to walk away, throwing her arms in the air. The on-board computer of the police also showed that she was uninsured.
‘She gave a breath sample at the roadside, the result was 112 micrograms. She was taken into custody for further breath tests. There was no real attempt to deliver a breath sample. She sealed her mouth around the test device, but didn’t actually blow.
“So another blood test was done and the result was 224 micrograms. This fact was compounded by the children who were in the car at the time.”
Hughes had a prior 2014 conviction for driving a vehicle with excessive alcohol consumption for which she was fined.
A probation report said: ‘There are no dependency problems with alcohol. It’s more binge drinking than daily drinking. She drinks one or two nights during the week.
“She had been with friends on Friday when they drank several bottles of Prosecco between them. She went to an event on Saturday and unfortunately refilled a few glasses of cider.
At Crewe District Court, Hughes of Winsford was ordered not to drink alcohol for 120 days
Hughes was sentenced to 12 months community service with 200 hours unpaid work and was also banned from driving for 28 months and she was ordered to pay £234 in costs and a victim’s allowance
“That’s why the value is as high as before and she didn’t think she was too drunk to drive. You won’t feel drunk the next day as your mind adjusts to it. For all intents and purposes, she didn’t realize she had gone over the limit.
“She was upset during the interview. She had two kids in the car and didn’t realize she was still drunk. She wouldn’t have driven if she’d known.’
The report added: ‘The alcohol control equipment would be very helpful in this case. It will teach the defendant that she can do without alcohol. At some point she will get her driver’s license back and will have to control her drinking. The device will also be a punishment as it will affect her social life. But in the future she will benefit from it.’
Lawyer Jo Corbett, who represents Hughes, said she hadn’t realized how much alcohol would have been in her system the day before and how the reading would have added up if she drank again.
‘She is very sorry for her actions,’ said Miss Corbett, ‘Miss Hughes had been drinking the night before and was not quite aware that she would have had such a lecture.
“She says she didn’t think much about it. If she had known how high the value was, she certainly wouldn’t have driven, especially if there were children in the car. She deeply regrets her actions’
After the confrontation with police on the side of the road, Miss Corbett said Hughes tried to get the children away from the car and into the shade because it was a hot day.
Hughes was also sentenced to 12 months community service with 200 hours of unpaid work. She was also banned from driving for 28 months and ordered to pay £234 in costs and a victim’s surcharge.
Chairman Dr Gwyneth Edwards told her: ‘We consider this matter very serious. It was a very high reading, the driving style was very bad, you were swerving on the road and tailgating. A member of the audience was so concerned he had to stop you himself.
“The police and this member of the public both said you were double-tongued and unsteady on your feet. Your behavior was so bad when the police arrived that you had to be restrained. There were two children in your car and you have previously been convicted of excessive alcohol consumption while in charge of a vehicle. You failed the breath test in the custody suite and you were driving without insurance.
‘You must cooperate with the alcohol abstinence obligation for 120 days. The equipment takes into account possible alcohol consumption. If it happens, you will be brought back to court.”
What is the drunk driving law in the UK and how does it compare to other countries?
England and Wales have some of the most lenient drink-driving laws in Europe.
Motorists are allowed 80 milligrams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood, 35 micrograms per 100 milliliters of breath or 107 milligrams per 100 milliliters of urine.
This does not translate into a set number of drinks, as people of different ages, weights, and alcohol tolerance drink at different rates.
However, as a rule of thumb, most drivers who drink will limit themselves to about one pint or one glass of wine.
But ministers have faced calls to change the law so that drivers cannot consume alcohol before getting behind the wheel – or at least much less.
In most other European countries the limit is lower, usually 50 milligrams per 100 milliliters of blood3.
The alcohol limit for drivers in Scotland is lower than the rest of the UK after they lowered it to 50 milligrams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood in December 2014.