By Chris Brunner
A misdemeanor drunken driving charge filed against a well-known local journalist with a history of DUI arrests was reduced to a traffic violation earlier this month, court records show.
Mitchell Pellecchia, 59, who publishes ParklandNews.net, CoconutCreekNews.net, MargateNews.net, and NorthLauderdaleNews.net, had faced a charge of driving under the influence, which prosecutors filed after his arrest in Margate on March 18, 2020.
Prosecutors on June 9 reduced the DUI charge to a reckless driving violation, a traffic ticket, which is not considered a crime. Pellecchia pleaded guilty to the violation, records show.
A second criminal charge originally filed against Pellecchia, Refusal to Submit to a Breath or Blood Test, was dropped by prosecutors, according to Pellecchia’s attorney, Josh Rydell, who is also mayor of Coconut Creek.
Police originally alleged Pellecchia was “staggering and unsteady on his feet” as he left Margate City Hall an hour after a Margate City Commission meeting began on March 18, 2020, according to the arrest affidavit filed in his case.
Police pulled him over at a gas station six minutes by foot from City Hall, records show. At the time, documents filed by prosecutors stated it was his third DUI offense in 10 years.
Records show Pellecchia was arrested for DUI in 2012 in a case involving leaving the scene of an accident, DUI property damage resulting, refusal to take a breath test, careless driving, and driving without lights on; records show.
That case was also dropped by prosecutors, according to court documents.
It is unclear from the records whether Pellecchia has ever been convicted of DUI outside of Broward County.
Pellechia, who now goes by Dr. Mitchell Pellechia, reports he possesses an online “Doctor of Business Administration” and an “MBA” from Trident University.
Rydell declined to comment on Pellecchia’s most recent case beyond clarifying the resolution of the original charges.
Pellecchia was also charged with domestic battery in a case involving his wife in March 2020. The case has since been “disposed of, but the way it was disposed of is not listed in court records.
Send your news to Parkland’s #1 Award-Winning News Source, Parkland Talk.