BOCA RATON, FL (November 6) – Broward County Circuit Court Judge Cynthia Imperato was arrested late last night for DUI by Boca Raton Police.
An anonymous call to the Boca PD at 9:50 p.m. described a white Mercedes-Benz, driving erratically in the area of 49 NE 2nd Street. The caller thought the driver was impaired and reported that he was nearly side-swiped twice by the Mercedes.
Police couldn’t locate the car for about an hour until it was spotted near 2400 W. Palmetto Park Rd. The officer observed erratic driving and a near collision another vehicle.
According to the arrest affidavit, a second officer came to the scene and asked Imperato if she knew why she was stopped. Imperato acknowledged that she was weaving.
Imperato was asked to get out of the car, however she refused and said she was calling her attorney. The officer said Imperato was having trouble dialing numbers and also smelled alcohol, her eyes appeared glassy and red, her speech slow and slurred and her face red and flush.
The officer again asked her to get out of the car but she continued to refuse. Then officer then took Imperato’s cell phone, opened the car door and asked her to get out. Such actions by the police may be an illegal search and seizure in violation of the 4th Amendment to the US Constitution.
When she got out of the car, Judge Imperato used the door to push herself up, the affidavit says, and “had difficulty walking without losing her balance.”
Imperato refused to take a breath test and declined to walk in front of the patrol car to perform field sobriety exercises, possibly to avoid the embarrassment and humiliation of being caught on video while under the unfluence. As is standard operating procedure, Judge Imperato’s car was towed.
Palm Beach County is one of a growing number of jurisdictions in Florida that offers qualified first time DUI offenders to opt into a diversion program allows offenders to have their charges reduced to reckless driving and subsequently get their arrest records sealed and expunged.
Had Judge Imperato been arrested in Broward County, where until her arrest she presided on the Circuit Court criminal bench, there is no DUI diversion program. Individuals who are found guilty of DUI face a mandatory lifetime criminal record of a having a DUI conviction, a six month minimum driver’s license revocation, probation, fines, vehicle impoundment, and DUI school.
If you or someone you know has been arrested for DUI anywhere in South Florida, you owe it to yourself to call attorney Robert Malove to learn about solutions and get expert legal advice.