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JUDGE GIVES MOTHER JAIL TIME

A 32-year-old mom, who appeared to be drunk, tried to drive her daughter home.

A woman who was accused of trying to drive home drunk from a Macaroni Grill restaurant with her 9-year-old daughter pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge Tuesday and received 10 days in jail.

Michelle Angst, 32, will be electronically monitored on a work-release program for 90 days. In addition, she will have to perform 50 hours of community service and was ordered to attend Alcoholics Anonymous meetings three times a week.

Angst drew attention after a February incident in which Seminole Assistant Fire Chief Michael Wallace convinced her daughter to get out of Angst's car outside a Macaroni Grill at 2302 Tyrone Blvd. N. People in the restaurant were concerned because Angst appeared to be drunk. Wallace followed Angst home, and helped contact police.

But prosecutors with the Pinellas-Pasco State Attorney's Office said they were disappointed by Judge John Carballo's sentence.

"We let the court know that we wanted 270 days," prosecutor Erin Whittemore said.

Whittemore said Angst had been arrested in 2005 on a DUI charge where her blood alcohol content was greater than 0.20. Also, Whittemore said Angst had been involved in a DUI crash in Nevada in 2001 in which she flipped her car while her child was inside.

Gail Conolly, an attorney representing Angst, said her client had complied with all Department of Children and Families requirements since her arrest and had been reunited with her daughter, though it was unclear if she had regained full custody.

"I think it was a very balanced and compassionate offer by the judge based on the mitigating circumstances," Conolly said, "She has taken the steps to try to deal with her disease of alcohol addiction."

Abhi Raghunathan can be reached at araghunathan@sptimes.com or (727) 893-8472.

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