A lawyer has been sentenced for her third drink-driving charge after being caught driving her Jaguar early one morning.
Sacha Maria Beacham, of Hastings, 39, was fined $1200 plus court costs and disqualified from driving or obtaining a licence for nine months.
The charge was laid after a police officer, concerned about the way her 2000 S-Type Jaguar was being driven, pulled her over on St Georges Rd near Hastings just after 2.35am on January 15. Beacham was breath-tested and recorded 561mcg per litre of breath. The legal limit is 400mcg.
Judge Brooke Gibson, who declined a media application for a camera in court, told the court that the reading was mid-range.
Beacham was convicted in 2002 of driving with an excess blood-alcohol level of 112mg of blood, and in 2007 of driving with an excess breath-alcohol level of 703mcg.
Judge Gibson said the case had attracted attention from the media because Beacham was a lawyer and came from a prominent Hastings family. He said she had voluntarily gone through alcohol counselling and had entered a guilty plea at an early stage.
"It will probably be the last time a fine will be the response."
Beacham's lawyer, Patrick Winkler, told the Weekend Herald that his client was relieved the case was over.
"She's determined never to end up in this situation again."
He said Beacham still held a certificate to practise law and said he hoped that she would be given credit for her alcohol counselling "in any future forum".
New Zealand Law Society complaints manager Malcolm Ellis wouldn't confirm whether the society was investigating Beacham.
"We can't comment on anything that relates to any individual," Mr Ellis said.
Any complaint received would be dealt with initially by a standards committee.
"If they think it's serious enough they'll refer it off the disciplinary tribunal.
"It's up to those bodies to consider whether they think the conduct will bring the profession into disrepute.
"My personal view is that lawyers are no different to anyone else in the community and suffer from the same frailties ... just because they get caught does not mean they're bad lawyers."