Jermaine Pennant has been given an eight-week jail sentence, suspended for a year, and has been disqualified from driving for three years after he admitted drink-driving.
The Stoke winger was more than twice the limit when he got behind the wheel of his BMW to drive back from Manchester in the early hours of April 29, Trafford Magistrates' Court heard. The 29-year-old was "depressed and stressed" after months of turmoil in his private life and suffering taunts while in a nightclub, it was claimed.
Pennant was driving home from the nightclub and was involved in a minor road accident before he was arrested at the scene. On Tuesday, he admitted drink-driving, driving while disqualified, and driving without insurance. He was also fined £80 costs and given a 12-month supervision order.
On the night of the incident, Pennant was breath-tested and gave a reading of 89mg of alcohol in 100ml of breath. The legal limit is 35mg.
Pennant, of Pool Lane, Sandbach, Cheshire, had already been banned form driving earlier that month by magistrates in Cannock, Staffordshire, for totting up too many points on his licence. But he was not aware that he was banned because the letter had not reached him, the court heard.
Passing sentence, District Judge Khalid Qureshi told Pennant he accepted the defendant did not know he should not have been driving, but the previous convictions and high alcohol reading aggravated the offence.
But District Judge Qureshi said he could suspend a jail term because the previous offences were committed a "considerable time" ago and because of the situation Pennant found himself in, in the nightclub.
"I accept this had not been a pre-planned decision to drive," District Judge Qureshi said. "The circumstances which arose you found difficult to deal with and led you to believe the only option you had was to drive your vehicle, to get away from an unpleasant situation, you had no option."
Mike Stephenson, defending, told the court despite the former Arsenal, Liverpool and Birmingham midfielder's previous convictions he had now matured.
"He was a wayward young man with possibly too much money," Mr Stephenson told the court. "That was the problem then. Seven years later he's grown up and disciplined himself with the help of Stoke City and the manager who has been a disciplinarian with the defendant."