A driver who refused to give a breath test after nearly hitting a toddler has been disqualified for two years.
Hazel Arnott appeared at Elgin Sheriff Court yesterday, where she admitted careless driving and failing to give a breath test.
The court heard the 41-year-old had told officers that she was being “victimised” when they asked her for a sample on March 23.
Arnott – who had been drinking the night before – narrowly avoided hitting the toddler and a man after mounting the pavement in her car near Grant Park, Forres.
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She then managed to get back off the pavement and continued driving – failing to spot the police behind her flashing their lights.
Depute fiscal Alex Swain said witnesses raised the alarm after spotting Arnott driving erratically on the A96 Elgin to Alves road.
She was seen crossing the white line into the opposite carriageway twice, and swaying into the verge at the side of the road another three times.
Ms Swain said Arnott, of Slains Place, Elgin, was later seen in Forres.
She said: “Witnesses saw the silver Renault Clio pass Grant Park, mount the kerb with both front and rear-side wheels and drive on pavement for five metres.
“The vehicle narrowly missed a man and toddler who were walking on the pavement there.
“It missed them by about two feet before returning fully onto the road.
“Police had been consulted and passed details of the car, and found her driving towards Elgin at the Forres Enterprise Park at about 3pm.”
Officers tried to attract Arnott’s attention by flashing their lights, but it took a while for her to notice and pull over.
When she did, they smelt alcohol on her breath, her speech was slurred and her pupils dilated.
The court heard Arnott refused to give a breath specimen twice and claimed that “she never should have been pulled over in the first place,” as the police had “no evidence and were victimising her.”
Defence solicitor Iain Maltman insisted that his client accepted she was driving carelessly but not the exact distance that the witnesses claimed.
He also appealed to the court for leniency, as Arnott is doing a college course and was contemplating dropping out due to worries about not having a car.
He said: “My client had drunk the evening before and was distressed after being turned away from her friend’s house and is remorseful about refusing to give breath samples.
“She has been disqualified before for a similar offence 10 years ago.”
Sheriff Olga Pasportnikov disqualified her from driving for two years, ordered her to carry out 120 hours of unpaid work and put her on a year-long supervision order.