Recent Broward Law Blog Features

Monday, January 26, 2009

St. Pete Prosecutor Skates on 2nd DUI

The ABA Journal blog's Martha Neil reports that an ex prosecutor known for being really tough on DUI defendants has avoided jail on her own drinking binges.

Lydia Wardell, 41, got a year of probation but no jail time at her sentencing this week after putting her fate in the hands of Hillsborough County Judge Lawrence Lefler, reports the St. Petersburg Times. The DUI was her second; in 2005 she was given at least a year of probation following an arrest for drunk driving while her two young sons were in the vehicle.

Although a 10-day jail term is mandated, under state law, "if someone is arrested twice for DUI within five years, as Wardell was," it also provides for an exception, the newspaper explains: The judge has the alternative of sentencing the defendant to residential treatment, as Lefler did in Wardell's case, including in her sentence a requirement that she spend 110 days in residential treatment. Since Wardell has already done so, that portion of her sentence has been completed.

She has also had her driver's license suspended for five years, and must pay a $1,000 fine and perform 50 hours of community service. Wardell resigned from her job as an assistant prosecutor for Pinellas and Pasco Counties after her second DUI arrest, the newspaper notes.

"Before her first arrest, Wardell was known for her aggressive pursuit of DUI and other cases as one of two misdemeanor court supervisors for the Pinellas-Pasco State Attorney," the St. Petersburg Times reports in an earlier article. "She was demoted after the first arrest, barred at work from having any contact with DUI cases. She was also suspended 30 days without pay."

We woud not do that here, would we?

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