TALLAHASSEE (Florida Record) — Lake City attorney Stephen Michael Witt, practicing in Florida for 41 years, has been publicly reprimanded following a May 17 Florida Supreme Court after his plea to a DUI charge, according to a recent announcement by The Florida Bar.
"Witt is ordered to sign a treatment contract with Florida Lawyers Assistance, and shall be placed on probation for the length of the contract," the state bar said in its June 29 announcement of the discipline and the Supreme Court's order. "Witt pleaded no contest to DUI, and he was adjudicated guilty."
In its single-page order, the high court approved the uncontested referee's report filed in the matter before reprimanding Witt and ordering him to pay a little more than $4,007 in costs.
Florida court orders are not final until time to file a rehearing motion expires. Filing such a motion would not have altered the effective date of Witt's suspension.
Witt was admitted to the bar in Florida on May 31, 1977, according to his profile at the state bar website. No prior discipline before the state bar is listed on Witt's state bar profile.
Witt's discipline stemmed from a January 2017 automobile accident in which his vehicle ended up submerged in Lake Desoto in Columbia County, according to the referee's report. Following a DUI investigation that included a voluntary blood sample, Witt's alcohol level was found to be .22g/100ml, almost three times the Florida legal limit of .08g/100ml, and Witt was later charged, according to the referee’s report.
Witt later rejected a grievance committee's recommended diversion and last August he pleaded no contest to DUI. In subsequent testimony, Witt said his high consumption of alcohol that night "was an unusual occurrence," the referee's report said.
"He rejected diversion because he does not have a drinking problem and that, with his job and other responsibilities, it would not be possible for him to comply with the alcohol testing or attend support group meetings," the referee's report continued. "This court rejects the testimony suggesting no alcohol use disorder because it is inconsistent with the substantial evidence adduced at trial."
The referee recommended a public reprimand and that Witt be ordered to sign a treatment contract.
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