Ft. Lauderdale, FL- The trial for Broward County Circuit Court Judge Cynthia Imperato who is facing one count of driving under the influence and reckless driving began today with attorneys choosing jurors who will hear the case.
Jury selection and opening statements will continue through Wednesday. According to Sun Sentinel, Imperato’s attorney tried to keep the jury from being made aware of his client’s occupation, insisting that she couldn’t get a fair trial because “many citizens hold judges and attorneys to a higher standard.”
Judge Imperator was arrested in November of 2013 after an officer observed her driving erratically in Boca Raton. It was just before 11 p.m. and Imperato was returning home after attending a legal function earlier that night.
Police were able to locate Imperato because a concerned citizen called to report that the driver of a Mercedes was swerving all over the road. That concerned citizen will be called to testify in Imperato’s trial.
At the time of her arrest, Imperato was not very cooperative with the officer and refused several times to exit her Mercedes. She told the officer she refused to do anything before she spoke with her attorney, but she eventually exited her vehicle. In the arrest report, the officer noted that once Imperato exited her vehicle she had to push herself out of her car using the side door.
The officer also noted that she smelled of alcohol and her eyes were read and glassy.
Imperato refused submit to field sobriety tests and a breathalyzer test, but was placed under arrest for suspicion of driving under the influence and reckless driving.
The Sun Sentinel reported that Imperato was offered a plea bargain requiring she be on probation for 12 months, have her license suspended for 6 months and pay fines. Imperato refused that offer and chose to go to trial.
This is Imperato’s second DUI arrest, her first was in 1988, according to the Sun Sentinel. Because Florida’s look –back period for a second DUI offense is 5 years, her first arrest won’t factor into her trial.
Judge Imperato was one of three female Broward County Judges arrested for driving under the influence over the past 18 months.
In May, Judge Gisele Pollack, 56, who typically handles misdemeanor drugs charges, was arrested for driving under the influence after she collided with parked car on West Broward Ave. The car’s occupant was knocked unconscious and was taken to a nearby hospital. She failed field sobriety tests, but refused to submit to a breathalyzer.
Later in May, Broward County Judge Cynthia Rosenthal was arrested for DUI after she ran collided with a parked police car in a parking lot at the Broward County Courthouse. Rosenthal submitted to a breathalyzer, but no alcohol was detected on her breath. She later said the sleeping pills she took the night before made her appear to be intoxicated.
If you are facing a Florida DUI charge our Ft. Lauderdale DUI attorney will do whatever they can to keep you from being convicted of a DUI. If that’s not possible, your attorney can negotiate with prosecutors to get you an acceptable plea bargain.