NY Judge Gets DWI on Her Way to Court

By Christopher Coble, Esq. on February 23, 2016 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

We've all had one of those Friday nights, right? The ones that leave you a bit woozy on Saturday morning? Lucky for most of us, we don't have to go to work early on a Saturday morning.

Not so for Rochester City Court Judge Leticia Astacio, who was on her way to Saturday morning arraignments when she was ticketed for driving while intoxicated at 8 a.m.

Right to Refuse?

More than most defendants, Judge Astacio should know what to expect when pulled over for DWI. Astacio worked in the Monroe County District's Office drunken driving bureau in 2009. So how did she respond when troopers suspected her car had been involved in an accident? By allegedly refusing a Breathalyzer test.

Judge Astacio was charged with DWI with refusal, which could potentially increase her penalties. New York is one of many states with "implied consent" laws, which can mean an automatic suspension of your license if you refuse a Breathalyzer test. Astacio was arrested, and another judge was called in to handle the morning's arraignments.

Who Judges the Judges?

Regardless of what happens to her future behind the wheel, the DWI might not be bad news for Judge Astacio's future on the bench. Astacio's was elected to the court in 2014, and New York city court judges serve 6- or 10-year terms.

And her arrest doesn't put her in the worst company, either. Last year, a North Carolina judge was arrested on charges of bribing an FBI agent with "a couple of cases of beer." And Alabama has had its fair share of judges arrested: federal judge Mark Fuller was arrested for misdemeanor battery of his wife, and county circuit judge Herman Thomas was on allegations he had been "checking male inmates out of jail and forcing them to engage in sexual activity including paddling." 

Hey, at least she wasn't found drunk, naked, and wrapped in a bed sheet in a hotel hallway -- Judge Astacio should actually get points for trying to do her job.

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