Florida Judge Cynthia Imperato, found guilty of drunk driving and reckless driving, received a sentence of 20 days house arrest, an outcome her attorney deemed harsh.
Prosecutors sought 30 days in jail, but a Palm Beach County judge ruled otherwise after a six-member jury rendered its verdict.
Judge Imperato, 57, had rejected a plea deal that required no jail time and instead took the case to trial, which lasted three days. She was reportedly previously convicted of DUI in 1998.
She had faced up to one year in jail if convicted.
Her lawyers are pursuing an appeal of this conviction, so even the house arrest is on hold. As part of the sentence, the judge's driver's license was suspended for one year, and she was ordered to serve a term of one year's probation along with 150 hours of community service, and pay about $2500 in fines. During the appeal, she won't be getting behind the wheel and must submit to weekly alcohol testing, however.
Judge Imperato is still serving on the bench in Broward County, hearing civil foreclosure cases after being transferred from the criminal court. Her term of office runs until 2017.
Police in Boca Raton pulled over Judge Imperato last fall as she was returning from a networking event for lawyers and judges, and she was initially uncooperative with officers.
"According to a police report, on the night of Nov. 5, 2013, a 911 caller stated Imperato's white Mercedes-Benz was driving erratically in the 2400 block of West Palmetto Park Road in Boca Raton. Once pulled over by officials, a dashboard camera showed Imperato repeatedly refusing the officer's request for her to step out of her vehicle. That officer claimed he smelled alcohol on her breath, her eyes were red, and her speech was slow and slurred. She refused to take a breathalyzer test," WSVN, Channel 7 in Miami/Fort Lauderdale reported.
The judge allegedly also refused to go along with field sobriety testing at the scene according to police, and no blood was drawn at the police station either for whatever reason.Imperato allegedly pulled out her judicial credentials in an attempt to get the cops to let her slide according to prosecutors, the Florida Sun-Sentinel reported.
Defense lawyers claim, among other things, that the police investigation was flawed and that officers might have been angling for promotions by busting a judge, the Daily Business Review noted.
Whether the judge remains on the bench is ultimately the call of the Florida Supreme Court, after the state's Judicial Qualifications Commission looks into the matter, CBS News Miami detailed.
Separately, as the Inquistr previously reported, drunk driving charges against a Texas judge were recently dropped when the dashcam video of the traffic stop somehow never reached the prosecutor.
[image via YouTube]