NewsWRTV Investigates


CALL 6: Repeat drunk driver, suspended attorney avoids prison on third offense

Julia Compton driver's license suspended 2.5 years
Posted at 5:49 PM, Feb 15, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-15 18:30:41-05

FRANKLIN, Ind.—  A repeat drunk driver will not be headed to prison following her third drunk driving offense.

A special judge sentenced Julia Compton, a now-suspended Franklin attorney, to 3.5 years Thursday morning.

Compton had faced more than a decade in prison for four criminal charges including being charged as a habitual vehicular substance offender.

The sentence handed down Thursday includes one year of incarceration, however, because Compton has already served 6 months in jail, she will receive 2-for-1 credit and be released in three days.

Following her release from jail, Compton will serve a year of home detention with an alcohol sensor and then a year and a half probation, which will include sober living and therapy.

Franklin Police arrested Compton on December 29, 2016, after she was driving three times the legal limit and nearly hit several cars on U.S. 31.

Compton rested her chin on the police officer’s knee and said “she would do anything not to go to jail,” read the arresting report. 

“Julia told me at the jail that she "hated me" and "hoped I died,” read the Franklin Police report. 

In previous arrests, video showed Compton telling the officers she was an attorney and would call the judge.

Leaving her sentencing Thursday, Compton had nothing to say to Call 6 Investigates.

Prosecutors had asked the judge for Compton to spend six years in prison, saying she needs to hit rock bottom.

"We're disappointed,” said deputy Johnson County Prosecutor Rob Seet. “You heard us argue for the Department of Correction because that's what we think is appropriate for her."

Seet said he is concerned for public safety.

"You get the keys and you go out and endanger the public, and that's the issue for us, and that is absolutely a public safety issue," said Seet.

The judge also suspended Compton’s driver’s license for the next 2.5 years.

Compton can’t practice law for at least a year.

Court records show the Indiana Supreme Court suspended Compton’s law license for a year following the third drunk driving arrest, and after Compton showed up drunk to a juvenile CHINS hearing in Marion County.

Her BAC was .23 at the time, records show.

Compton’s attorneys said it’s unclear if Compton plans to practice law again.

Compton is focused on her recovery, they said.

“All we can do is try to get her into the best facilities possible, the best treatment possible," said Mike Kyle, Compton’s attorney.

Julia Compton pleaded guilty to all four charges without a plea agreement.

Compton’s attorneys pointed out if Compton violates her home detention or probation she’ll be back behind bars.

“She’ll get double punishment for anything else she does,” said Compton’s attorney Mark McNeely. “Hopefully, she maintains her sobriety, she doesn’t drive, but if she does there’s a double whammy.”

Compton’s attorneys said the no-prison sentence was standard for a third drunk driving offense.

“It really doesn’t surprise me,” said Kyle. “Julia wanted to be treated like a regular person and not be singled out for being an attorney.”

Mothers Against Drunk Driving had pushed for prison time for Compton and released the following statement:

“In regards to the sentencing (or “lack thereof) pertaining to repeat drunk driver Julia Compton, MADD is outraged and dismayed to learn of the lenient decision made by this court. The court could have made a decision that would deter future drunk driving behavior from this individual, but instead seemingly chose to “sweep it under the rug.” 

"The citizens of Franklin and all of Indiana should wonder just whose interest were in mind when this decision was rendered. In considering the severity of the admissions of guilt made by the offender (being a “habitual vehicular substance offender, operating a vehicle while intoxicated with a prior conviction, and operating a vehicle while intoxicated endangering a person”), the leniency of this sentence disregards the public’s safety and ignores the hurt, damage and despair experienced by so many victims of the crime of drunk driving.  Sadly, justice seemingly did not prevail in Franklin this day."

PREVIOUS Franklin attorney suspended for drunken driving caught driving with a suspended license | Suspended Franklin attorney faces decade in prison following third OWI arrest

Stream WRTV anytime!

Contact WRTV Investigates