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Florida DUI News – DUI Charges Reduced Against Florida Magistrate Who Oversees Drug Court

DUI charges reduced

A Duval County magistrate had his Florida DUI charge reduced after pleading no contest to a reckless driving charge. John Arthur Sampson III oversees a Duval County drug court. He was arrested on March 31 after a double refusal, giving prosecutors no breath test or video of Sampson performing field sobriety tests.

Sampson pled no contest to a single count of reckless driving. He was sentenced to eight months of probation and community service. Sampson will have to complete 75 hours of community service on top of losing his Florida driver’s license for a year. He was granted a business purposes only license. He also had to complete DUI school and faced nearly $1,000 in fines.

The problem surrounding Sampson’s case is that some think he should not be allowed to keep his job as a magistrate overseeing a drug court considering the DUI charges filed against him. In Florida a magistrate is a lawyer who is hired to oversee various court hearings. A magistrate can oversee drug court like Sampson or traffic tickets or delinquent child support payments. Sampson was paid $86,000 a year according to

Sampson has been a magistrate for drug court for 10 years. Sampson worked mainly on drug charges that were related to defendants with drug-dependency issues. The court process Sampson oversaw handed out more lenient sentences due to the addiction the defendants suffer.

Another part of the problem is the appearance that Sampson got a “sweetheart” deal due to his involvement in the judicial system in Duval County. That doesn’t seem to be the case. Having a DUI charge reduced to reckless driving is fairly common when prosecutors have no video of a field sobriety test or no breath test results to submit into evidence. The State Attorney in Duval County said the reckless driving plea allowed the state to process a tough case without having to dismiss the charges all together.

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