A Dunedin nursing student caught drink-driving in Queenstown has been granted a discharge without conviction because of the likely impact it would have on her career.
Isabelle Anne Bradley, 19, applied for the discharge after admitting a charge of drink-driving in Sydney St on June 28. She recorded a breath-alcohol level of 479mcg.
She appeared before community magistrate Simon Heale in the Queenstown District Court yesterday.
The court heard Bradley was drinking with friends, when one was "kicked out" of the Four Seasons Motel in Stanley St as a result of noise complaints.
The friend had to move her car as a result, and the defendant offered to do that.
As Bradley pulled out of a roadside park in Sydney St, she was seen nudging another vehicle by a member of the public, who rang the police.
Counsel Kirsty Allan said the defendant told the officer she was driving to "clear her head", but only said that out of a misguided urge to prevent her friend from getting in any more trouble.
Bradley had no previous convictions, and was "absolutely devastated" about her "spontaneous, silly decision" to drive.
"Miss Bradley is someone who's selfless almost to a fault, and someone who would do anything for anybody," Allan said.
She expected to graduate from her nursing degree next year, and a conviction could jeopardise her ability to secure work, particularly in more competitive fields of nursing.
It would also have consequences for her ability to find employment overseas; she had long held a dream to live and work in London, as well as a desire to travel to Canada, the United States and Japan.
Heale said no specific evidence had been provided about the impact of a conviction on the defendant, but he accepted the indirect consequences would outweigh the gravity of her offending.
He granted the discharge, ordered Bradley to make a $350 charitable donation and disqualified her for six months.
Karelia Gonzalez Luiz, 49, quality and assets manager, of Arthurs Point, was granted a discharge without conviction after admitting drink-driving (584mcg) in Stanley St on June 14.
After drinking with friends in central Queenstown, Gonzalez Luiz was shifting her car from Stanley St to Ballarat St, in order to avoid a fine, when she was pulled over by police about 2am.
The defendant, a Venezuelan national and Spanish citizen, is a New Zealand permanent resident and on the path to citizenship.
Counsel Louise Denton said a conviction would disqualify the defendant from applying for citizenship for three years from the date of a conviction, and she would then face a character test.
Although unlikely, a conviction would also make her immediately liable for deportation.
The defendant was working full-time while raising her son by herself.
"I can't state enough how much of an impact this would have," Denton said.
Heale said everything he had heard indicated the defendant lived an "exemplary life", and he accepted she met the criteria for a discharge.
He granted the discharge, ordered her to make a $400 charitable donation and disqualified her for six months.