Longboat Key attorney Kevin Keenan Chase has been suspended for 45 days and placed on two years' probation following an Aug. 24 Florida Supreme Court order after entering a non contest plea to a 2015 charge of driving under the influence of alcohol.
Chase also agreed to continue his participation with the Florida State Bar's Florida Lawyer's Assistance, according to the consent judgment filed with the state's high court. The judgment also includes Chase's conditional guilty plea.
The state court's two-page order also directed Chase to pay $1,403 in costs. The state bar announced the discipline and the Supreme Court's order Sept. 27.
His suspension was effective 30 days after the high court's order to allow Chase to close out his practice and protect the interests of his existing client. His reinstatement is automatic following the end of his suspension, followed by probation, according to the supreme court's order.
In Florida, court orders are not final until after time to file a rehearing motion expires.
Chase was admitted to the bar in Florida on Oct. 20, 1994, according to his profile at the state bar website.
Chase was arrested Jan. 2, 2015, on the DUI charge and later entered the plea, according to the consent judgment. Driving under the influence is a violation of court rules that bar an attorney in Florida from committing a criminal act that reflects adversely on the attorney's honesty, trustworthiness or fitness to practice law in the state.
His participation in a seven-month alcohol abuse counseling course, testing negative in random drug tests since Jan. 29, 2016, and entering an out-patient treatment program all were considered mitigating factors in his suspension, according to the consent judgment.
In a previous discipline, in July 2011 Chase was suspended for 30 days and placed on two years' probation following his November 2008 arrest in Orange County on a charge of misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia, according to a state supreme court order and consent judgment entered at that time. Chase entered a pre-trial diversion program in March 2009, according to the 2011 consent judgment. The high court also ordered chase to pay $2,139 in costs in that suspension.