Two glasses of wine was two glasses too many for Charlotte DePersia, according to Judge William Condon, who ordered her jailed Tuesday for allegedly violating her probation by drinking.
Prosecutors say that less than three months after , DePersia, 59, of East Hampton, admitted to the probation department that she had two drinks at Gurney’s Inn in Montauk on March 10. A court-ordered ankle bracelet registered a blood alcohol level of .039 percent, consistent with consuming two glasses of wine, prosecutors said at DePersia’s arraignment Tuesday at the Arthur M. Cromarty Court Complex in Riverside.
Assistant District Attorney Kate Wagner requested that bail be set at $1 million cash or $2 million bond, and she reminded Condon of his words at DePersia’s Dec. 13, 2011, sentencing, when he said that the DePersia was lucky no one was killed when she when she on Montauk Highway in Bridgehampton on Nov. 27, 2010, and that if she fails one drug and alcohol test she will be sent to upstate prison. “After each time you informed her that she can’t drink, she stated that she understood,” Wagner reminded Condon.
“Sadly, she did not even make three months on her probation,” Wagner said. She indicated that the district attorney’s office will recommend one and a third to four years in state prison.
DePersia’s attorney, Tad Scharfenberg, of Bohemia and East Hampton, countered that his client has been in alcohol treatment since the crash and had no other slip ups in 15 months. He entered a plea for DePersia of “denial” to the charge that she violated her probation.
“I understand there’s a lot of pressure on this case,” Scharfenberg told the judge. “The media has been following this case.”
He said DePersia has never missed a court date or an appointment with the probation department. In requesting that bail be set much lower, between $10,000 and $20,000, he said, “If there was a time to flee, today would have been the day.”
Condon ultimately set bail at $500,000 cash or $1 million bond.
“As a result of the accident that occurred here, one slip-up is one slip-up too many,” Condon said. “I think I made that crystal clear.”
DePersia was handcuffed and brought to Suffolk County Jail in Riverside. She is due back in court May 1 for a conference date.
Outside the courtroom, Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota said, “The judge’s comments, and certainly the bail that he proposed, were appropriate under these circumstances.”
Spota noted that his office had recommended prison time at DePersia’s sentencing, when Condon gave DePersia probation, community service and fines, and revoked her license.
"Of all the people in Suffolk County, this is one woman who should not be driving," Spota said.
On his way out of court, Scharfenberg said he had only received the paperwork on DePersia’s alleged violation of probation that day, and he will now be investigating the district attorney’s office’s assertions. “Things may not be as true as they say.”