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Mum gets child to blow into alcohol interlock device so she can drive

Mum gets child to blow into alcohol interlock device so she can drive

By Doug Sail
June 1, 2022

NEW ZEALAND – A Geraldine woman who got her daughter to blow into an alcohol interlock device, so she could drive to the supermarket after drinking, will keep her car despite breaching her sentence for the second time.

Judge Joanna Maze decided against confiscating 34-year-old Amira Victoria Margaret Murphy’s car because she said it would lead to significant hardship for her four dependant children as the family lives rurally.

Murphy blew 194 micrograms when stopped by police on Peel St, Geraldine, just before 6pm one night in February.

Having earlier been sentenced to having an alcohol interlock device fitted in her car following previous drink-driving convictions in 2008, 2010, 2016 and 2018, Murphy had a zero alcohol licence at the time.

When Murphy pleaded guilty on April 21, police prosecutor Dave Tod told the court that she had admitted to drinking when she was stopped and told police she was driving to the supermarket.

Tod said Murphy was caught driving contrary to her alcohol licence conditions in 2020, as her vehicle did not have an interlock device fitted, which was ordered after her fourth conviction in 2018.

Appearing in the Timaru District Court for sentencing on Wednesday, the court heard how Murphy got her eldest child to blow in to the alcohol interlock device, so the car would work.

Judge Joanna Maze said the pre-sentence report reveals Murphy started drinking when she was 16-years-old, and she now accepted she has a major problem.

“You have $412 in outstanding fines which I will remit given your limited circumstances and family obligations,” Judge Maze said.

Judge Maze backdated a 28-day disqualification to March 29, when Murphy pleaded guilty to the charge, and re-sentenced her to an alcohol interlock device and a zero alcohol licence. She was also sentenced to three months’ community detention and nine months’ supervision.

“Costs of those have been taken into account in the sentence.”

Judge Maze told Murphy it was important for her to note that earlier sentences do not apply.