Teenager Escapes Jail Time Despite 3 DUIs in a Row

One Time Just Wasn’t Enough

TAMPA, Florida – Earlier this spring, Kimberly McCarthy, an 18 year old Tampa woman, was charged with three separate DUI’s between February 24th and March 11th. Arrest reports show two of those arrests happened within two days. Police pulled her over and found an open bottle of rum, 12 Xanax pills, pot, and a bong. She was charged with misdemeanor DUI and felony possession of narcotic substances.

Although the first offence had resulted in the revoking of her driver’s license, it did not deter her from being behind the wheel.

“Her last one culminated with her crashing into the back of a brand new car that had only been on the road a couple of weeks,” said Tampa Police Sergeant Ray Fernandez.

There was more marijuana, a bong, a roach clip, and a glass pipe found in her car by the police. According to a statement by the police force, McCarthy now has three mug shots in 17 days for the same crime on her record – a distinction nobody would want to have.

Although this time around, despite the fact that she was charged with a felony DUI, she was denied bail, but managed to escape additional jail time. The arrests have caused uproar amongst the members of Hillsborough County’s Mothers Against Drunk Driving (M.A.D.D.).

“This apparently is one teenager who doesn’t get it,” said Linda Unfried of M.A.D.D.

“She should not be driving; she should be someplace where she’s getting serious help.”

What shook most of the community is the fact that the teenager escaped the hassle of jail time despite all odds, and instead just faced the penalty to seek treatment in a rehabilitation center. The leniency, the court exhibited towards her prosecution stemmed from her ignorance of “smoking marijuana and driving being a DUI,” according to Hillsborough Circuit Judge Lisa Campbell.

Still arrest reports show that alcohol only played a role in one of McCarthy’s three arrests.

“From what it appears, she likes to drink very little,” Fernandez said. “Most of what she’s doing is narcotics, she’s smoking marijuana.”

McCarthy didn’t even have her full driver’s license yet at the time. She only received her learner’s permit in November 2011. Yet, according to the Tampa Bay Times, she had already been stopped earlier this year for driving without an adult, careless driving, and not wearing a seat belt.

Following treatment, McCarthy will be under supervision for three years. During the first two years, she will be required to wear an ankle bracelet. After that, she will receive a year of probation. Her license has also been revoked for six months.

McCarthy is currently free on $3,000 dollars bond.

Author: Amir Ladan
A former assistant state attorney for Orange/Osceola Counties, Amir has handled thousands of cases and dozens of trials, ranging from DUI and traffic offenses to murder, in both adult and juvenile court.

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