Criminal Justice

Dressed for a night on the town, judge 'froze' in jail after DUI arrest


A Florida judge’s decision to drink and drive led to a rough several hours at the local jail early Saturday.

Although she feels she was treated well by jail personnel, Hillsborough County Circuit Judge Tracy Sheehan said she learned a hard lesson from being charged with a driving-under-the-influence misdemeanor and locked up after an evening of bar-hopping with a cousin. “It was a horrible, poor choice on my part to get behind the wheel. It will never happen again,” she told the Tampa Bay Times.

Her blood-alcohol level was tested at 0.171 and 0.161, the newspaper says. The legal limit for driving is half that amount, 0.08.

Sheehan said she is sorry about the effect that the incident is likely to have on the reputation of the judiciary and has notified her chief judge. In a written statement to the newspaper, she said she takes full responsibility.

A former defense attorney and sole practitioner who was first elected to the bench in 2007, Sheehan has a reputation of taking a hard line on neglectful and abusive parents and once donated $100,000 from her retirement fund to help construct a children’s shelter, the Times reports.

In addition to being humiliating, her brief stint in jail before being released on $500 bond was uncomfortable, she said. “They have a bench made of cement with no padding. I had on this skimpy sundress because it was hot out last night. And I froze in there.”

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