An unemployed hairdresser who drove her car with her children in it while she she was under the influence of alcohol claimed she was terrified of her ex-partner and had to leave the house.
Aine Penrose was disqualified from driving for two years and fined €250 after she was found guilty at Swords District Court of drink driving on June 4 at Turvey in Donabate, Co Dublin.
Penrose (aged 29) of Ballynacargy in Mullingar told gardaí she couldn't order a taxi to take her and her children away from the house as she "did not know the phone numbers".
She claimed she went to the beach that day with her children and her ex-partner, who is the father of one of her children, and she had a few drinks.
She said when they got back to her ex-partner's house, his son started bullying her son and an argument broke out.
"I was terrified and I had nowhere to go with the kids," she said.
She said she drove her car with her children in it as she was trying to find a hotel or B&B.
"But I didn't know the area and didn't know where to stop."
"I would never dream of drink driving but I was terrified," she added.
Garda Jonathan Kirk gave evidence that at 2.22am he came across Penrose and noticed she was "swerving across the white lines" on the road and failed to indicate when turning off a roundabout.
He said he spoke to Penrose whose "speech was slurred, eyes were glazed and there was a smell of alcohol" coming from her.
He said her three children, aged seven, nine and one, were in the car and when arrested, Penrose gave a breath sample of 58mg/100ml.
Defence barrister Ms Lisa Daly said the reason Penrose drove was because "she felt she had no choice, she had no phone credit to ring a taxi and did not know the area she was in."
Judge Dermot Dempsey found Penrose guilty of drink driving and disqualified her from driving for two years to come into effect in February. He also fined her €250.