Judge Charged With DUI Likely To Be Reviewed, Unlikely To Face Jail

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Hillsborough County Circuit Judge Tracy Sheehan was pulled over and arrested for drunk driving. Criminal defense attorney James Phillips says the judge is unlikely to face jail time, but her qualifications as a judge could be reviewed.

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Defendants often underestimate what a difference a good DUI defense lawyer can make.

Judge Tracy Sheehan spent a night in jail after being pulled over and arrested for drunk driving earlier this month according to the Tampa Bay Times (7.6.13). Criminal defense lawyer James Phillips says the judge could face a review of her judiciary qualifications, but likely won't serve additional jail time.

Sheehan says that she and her cousin went out for drinks in Ybor City, bar hopping between three different venues. Around 11 pm she started driving them home when a Tampa police officer noticed her drifting across lanes and pulled her over, according to a police report. Sheehan was arrested and breath tests revealed that her blood alcohol content was twice the legal limit reported the Tampa Bay Times.

“Judge Sheehan is likely to receive a lenient sentence, but it's not because she's a judge,” said Phillips, the founder of Katz and Phillips law firm and an experienced DUI defense lawyer. “She's a first time offender and she'll definitely hire a lawyer. Defendants often underestimate what a difference a good DUI defense lawyer can make.”

The most likely criminal consequences for the judge include a suspended license, a fine and court-ordered alcohol safety education, says Phillips. But he also noted that her career could suffer.

“She could face a review from the Florida Judicial Qualifications Commission,” Phillips said.

Sheehan has stated that she thinks that's unlikely, but Phillips isn't so sure.

“The question is whether this incident reflects a problem in how she runs her courtroom,” he said. “Even though it's an isolated incident, it could raise questions of whether she can be unbiased in alcohol-related cases.”

About James Phillips:
James D. Phillips is an experienced Hillsborough County DUI attorney and the co-founder of Katz & Phillips, PA. Mr. Phillips draws on extensive courtroom experience and his previous work as a prosecutor to give every client the strongest defense possible, focusing in particular on DUI defense. He is considered among the best DUI lawyers in the state. He can be contacted at:

Katz & Phillips, PA
620 East Twiggs Street
Suite 207
Tampa, Florida 33602

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