A woman banned from the road for drink-driving has been caught behind the wheel twice, once while under the influence of drugs.
Jennifer Strachan – who arrived at court on a bike – received a driving ban in August last year for drink-driving, but just a month later she was stopped in her car and tested positive for cocaine.
Then, last month, the 34-year-old was again spotted behind the wheel with no licence and no insurance.
Strachan appeared at Inverness Sheriff Court for sentencing having previously admitted two charges of driving whilst disqualified, one of drug-driving and one of driving without insurance.
Fiscal depute Grant McLennan said Strachan was first caught driving whilst disqualified on Sir Walter Scott Drive and Ardness Place on September 9 of last year at around 12.40am.
“Police were conducting a mobile patrol in the Inverness area when their attention was drawn to a Ford Focus,” he said.
“The police followed the vehicle with the intention of stopping it.”
But before officers could pull the vehicle over, it pulled into a driveway where the driver got out and hurried into a house.
Drug-driver tried to ‘avoid’ police
“Police took the view that this was an attempt to avoid them,” Mr McLennan told Sheriff Eilidh MacDonald.
Officers went to the door of the property, where Strachan identified herself as having been driving.
A check of the police national computer (PNC) revealed that she was disqualified from driving. She was taken to Burnett Road Station.
“A specimen of saliva was taken and that was positive for cocaine,” added Mr McLennan.
Subsequent testing revealed the level of a cocaine metabolite called Benzolecgonine in her blood to be 376 microgrammes per litre – the legal limit for driving being 50 microgrammes.
Mr McLennan said the next incident took place on October 12 of this year, when Strachan’s white Ford Focus was spotted on Holm Road and then at Tesco on Dores Road.
“A PNC check revealed that the accused was disqualified,” Mr McLennan said, adding that, as such, she had no valid insurance.
Banned driver’s car seized
Strachan’s vehicle was seized at this point and Strachan cautioned and charged.
Solicitor Duncan Henderson, for Strachan, said his client was working and had accessing recovery services at Osprey House.
He said: “It is entirely her own fault, it is her own actions that have placed her here. She understands the severity of the position she finds herself in.”
Mr Henderson said a presentencing report had recognised that Strachan showed “regret and remorse” for her actions and told Sheriff MacDonald: “Fortunately there was no one else involved.”
Sheriff MacDonald told Strachan: “You were disqualified for drink-driving in August 2022, in September 2022 you were found to be driving whilst under the influence of drugs and in October 2023 you were driving whilst disqualified. You are heading to jail if you carry on this way. Don’t think it won’t happen.
“It’s very dangerous, what you are doing, to yourself and others.”
Sheriff MacDonald banned Strachan, of Ardness Place, from the roads for three years and ordered her to complete 130 hours of unpaid work in the community.
She told her: “If you come back before the court again having offended in this way, you will be going to jail.”