The former wife of a Scots tycoon found in her car, reeking of drink, on the M9 at one o’clock in the morning was spared a driving ban after a sheriff heard that disqualification might damage her business interests.

Elaine Grossart, who divorced Hamish Grossart - a member of one of Scotland’s most prominent banking dynasties - in 2008, appeared in the dock at Stirling Sheriff Court on Tuesday (3 March).

The 57-year-old socialite admitted being in charge of a Toyota Rav4 Invincible on the M9 near Plean, Stirlingshire, on 18 October 2014 after consuming excess alcohol.

Adrian Fraser, prosecuting, said police on motorway patrol had noticed the Toyota stationary on the hard shoulder at about 1am, with its lights illuminated.

Mr Fraser said: “The police went to investigate further and approached the vehicle. They found the engine was running and opened the door spoke to the driver, the accused, who was the only occupant.

“She appeared to be composing a text on her mobile phone at that time, and she said that she had just pulled over to text her son.

“She was told that the hard shoulder of the motorway was not a suitable location to be doing that and at that point she began to argue with the police officers.

“She was noticeably slurring her words and repeating herself, and that raised certain suspicions on the part of the police.” Mr Fraser said that there was a smell of alcohol in Grossart’s vehicle and she was asked to get out and go with the officers to the police car.

The depute fiscal said: “It was then noticed by the officers that she was unsteady on her feet.” The court heard that Grossart, of Montrose Road, Auchterarder, Perthshire, gave a breath sample which proved, on analysis, to contain 46 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres, exceeding the then legal limit of 35 by almost a third.

Martin Black, defending, said Grossart felt “deep regret and no little embarrassment”.

He asked Sheriff Gillian Wade to use her discretion and not ban her.

He said Grossart had interests in two businesses - one a political research company, and the other a business networking and marketing company.

He claimed: “This does require Mrs Grossart to be itinerant in the nascent stages of the business.

“She is aware of the potential consequences arising from this matter and is aware that the loss of her driving licence would place a burden and an uncertain future when it comes to the continuation of the business.” He added that Grossart also needed to be able to visit her son and daughter, who were at boarding school in Edinburgh.

He said that Grossart had been involved in what he called “an acrimonious divorce”.

He said: “She has not had her problems to seek in recent years.

“The simple fact is that she was in charge of the vehicle, and she should not have been.

“She had not applied her mind to the alcohol she had taken before being in charge of the vehicle.

“It is in the court’s gift to dispose of the case by imposition of penalty points. There are no existing points on her licence and she is in a position to pay a financial penalty.” Sheriff Wade told Grossart that she would not be banned.

Fining her £800 and ordering 10 points to be endorsed on her licence, the sheriff said: “This was a serious matter, and your record does disclose a somewhat cavalier attitude to road traffic offences.

“However, there’s a degree of contrition.

“In the whole circumstances I shall order the imposition of 10 penalty points on her licence - I shall not disqualify you.” Asked by a reporter after the case if she thought she had got off lightly by escaping a ban, Grossart refused to comment.