Broward circuit judge facing DUI charge steps down

Cynthia Imperato arrested in Boca Raton after someone saw her driving dangerously

BOCA RATON, Fla. – A Broward County judge stepped down after being arrested on charges of driving under the influence.

Broward Circuit Judge Cynthia Imperato's name is not her courtroom anymore, as the veteran judge has stepped down from the criminal bench while she deals with a criminal charge of her own -- a DUI from earlier this week.

Broward Chief Judge Peter Weinstein, in an exclusive interview with Local 10, said Imperato will remain employed, helping in the unit working on foreclosures starting next week.

"Judge Imperato has asked me to excuse her from the criminal division while this matter is pending. I certainly think it was a wise decision and I've agreed to do it," said Weinstein. "We will start assigning cases to her next week."

"Obviously you didn't feel it was necessary to suspend her based on this charge," said Local 10's Bob Norman.

"I am looking forward to her being back here as soon as possible. I think the world of her," Weinstein said.

Though she met with Weinstein and other judges, Imperato hasn't worked since Tuesday night's DUI charge, after a citizen saw her driving dangerously, and a cop pulled her over and reported she had slurred speech, bloodshot eyes and a strong smell of alcohol coming from the car. She refused a breathalyzer test.

This carries with it an automatic year-long driver's license suspension, but that doesn't mean Imperato can't drive now.

Local 10's Bob Norman said it is Imperato's second DUI -- the first coming in 1988 when the now-56-year-old judge was working as a police officer.

"Things happen in this world and I have faith in Judge Imperato. I really do," said Weinstein.

It's not known whether Judge Imperato will take a plea or fight these charges. Her first court date is set for Dec. 2.