A woman caught driving while almost four times the legal alcohol limit was "lucky to be alive," a judge said today.
Francesca Moana Kairau was dobbed in by members of the public after being spotted driving erratically in Wellington on June 15.
According to the prosecution, the 33-year-old local hit the kerb several times while driving a Land Cruiser eastbound through the Mt Victoria tunnel about 6pm.
She later crossed 'no passing' lines in the middle of the road, swerved to avoid oncoming traffic and parked cars, then almost hit a pedestrian crossing the road when she nearly failed to stop at a red light.
Further on, Kairau accelerated to 90km/h in a 70km/h area and twice drove onto roundabouts.
Her driving was so bad members of the public called police.
She was found sitting in her stopped vehicle at Miramar, partially blocking the driveway of commercial premises.
She had an excess breath alcohol reading of 1581 micrograms of alcohol per litre of breath. The legal limit is 400mcg.
Police said Kairau had no explanation when she failed the breath test.
It was her third drink driving conviction. In August 2006, she blew 907 mcg and in October the following year, 1170 mcg.
The record reading in New Zealand is believed to be more than 2000.
Kairau's previous convictions were aggravating factors, Judge Oke Blaikie made the comment while sentencing Kairau in the Wellington District Court.
He imposed a sentence of five months community detention, 300 hours community work and nine months supervision, with an 18-month driving ban.
"Any further offending and you will go to prison."
Told that Kairau had taken to "self-medicating" with alcohol during an abusive relationship, Judge Blaikie said: "There are many people who have relationship problems much worse than yours but they don't drink."