AN accounts manager caught drunk-driving on the wrong side of the road while holding her mobile phone has been given a three-month suspended sentence.
Vicki Ryan (28) was seen by gardai driving dangerously as her car emerged from an industrial estate in the early hours of the morning, Blanchardstown District Court heard.
Suspending the sentence, banning her from driving for two years and fining her €200, Judge David McHugh remarked that the incident "could have had fatal consequences".
Ryan, with an address at John McCormack Avenue, Walkinstown, pleaded guilty to dangerous and drunk-driving in the incident at the Outer Ring Road, Clondalkin on October 12 last.
Sgt Maria O'Callaghan told the court gardai were on duty, driving in the inside lane on the dual carriageway at 2.30am. Ryan's car came out of the Grangecastle Business Park on the wrong side of the road, continuing the wrong way around a roundabout.
She drove toward and past the garda car in the outside lane, still on the wrong side and with a phone in her hand.
The patrol car turned and followed her with flashing lights and siren activated. She kept driving for a time, not realising the gardai were signalling her to stop.
She pulled in and failed the roadside breath test, before being arrested and taken to Ballyfermot Garda Station, where she tested over the alcohol limit.
Ryan had no previous convictions of any kind.
Defence barrister Grainne Fahey said the accused was accepting the facts of the case but asked Judge David McHugh to consider reducing the charge to the lesser offence of careless driving.
She said Ryan was not familiar with the area, got lost and pulled into the industrial estate and put on her sat-nav. When she pulled out, the road layout confused her and she entered the wrong lane. Judge McHugh refused to reduce the charge.
Ryan "put her hands up" in relation to drink-driving, Ms Fahey said. She had been in her sister-in-law's house and had not intended driving but got a phone call from a friend who was in "a distressed state" following a row with her boyfriend.
The accused was a "hard-working" full-time accounts manager with a software company in Dundrum. Her fiancee, an electrician, ran his own business and they were saving for their wedding next year.
"It's but for fate that something serious did not happen," Judge McHugh said. "Fatal consequences could have happened on the night in question."
The judge said he believed the penalty was a choice between a suspended sentence and an "outright" prison term.
He decided to suspend the three months for six months and put Ryan on a peace bond.