Mum Pulls Away From Court In Car Moments After Being Banned From Driving
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A mum who was banned from driving has been charged after pulling away from court in a car just moments later.
Greater Manchester Police have confirmed that Simara Knopka has been charged with disqualified driving and no insurance. She has been remanded in police custody and will appear at Manchester and Salford Magistrates Court today (Friday 6 November).
Hotel housekeeper Knopka had earlier been disqualified for two years for causing a head-on collision while driving the wrong way down a motorway as she looked at Google Maps on her phone.
Knopka - who lives in Macclesfield and is originally from Brazil - was warned by the judge that she faced time behind bars if she got behind a wheel again.
Yet, just moments later, the 39-year-old - who does not have a valid UK driving licence - was spotted driving away from Manchester Crown Court, after initially sitting in the passenger seat.
The mum-of-two could now face six months in jail for driving while disqualified.
Knopka had originally been convicted of dangerous driving after she drank two glasses of wine then drove the wrong way along the M60 near Worsley, while checking for directions on her phone at 1am on 28 May.
She subsequently crashed her son's Nissan Micra into an oncoming Nissan Qashqai as she was about to exit onto a slip road.
Tests showed Knopka had 26 micrograms of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath - under the 35mg legal limit.
Defence lawyer Thomas McKail said in mitigation: ''The Micra car was registered in her name but her son had insured it because she didn't have a valid license and is learning to drive in the UK. The car has been written off.
"She's from Brazil and obtained a driving license there 17 years ago, after she passed her test in Brazil. But she has been learning to drive in the UK for the past 12 months and given lessons by her husband.
"She intended to take a full test in the UK to obtain a license. She has, of course, the experience of driving a motor vehicle but she doesn't have the experience of driving in the UK.''
As well as being handed the driving ban, Knopka was fined £600 ($790) with £210 ($280) costs and was ordered to be electronically tagged as part of a 8pm-7am curfew.
Sentencing Knopka - who required an interpreter for the hearing - judge Nick Clarke QC said: ''I do not find it necessary to send you to jail today. However, it is important you understand this was a very dangerous piece of driving.
''Firstly you were looking at Google Maps on your phone which was apparently in your lap instead of paying attention to the road and you were straddled across two lanes and going in the wrong direction. In that way, you collided head on with a Nissan Qashqai, a vehicle which had just turned to come onto the motorway.
''That vehicle was itself turned completely over onto its roof and the driver was very fortunate to emerge with only bumps and bruises and minor cuts. Normally causing an accident in that way and the circumstances would lead to an immediate custodial sentence but I have read all about you and you are a hard-working woman and have no previous convictions.
''You are disqualified from having a driving license for the next two years and there after not be permitted to drive till you have passed an extended driving. But you must understand if you drive without insurance, without a license and passing a test, the next occasion the court will not be so lenient.''