Officer Appears Drunk at MADD Award Banquet

Jared Drake Bell

When nominated for an award, sometimes the celebratory measure is to consume alcohol with friends. However, when that award is being offered by M.A.D.D., Mothers Against Drunk Driving, it might not be such a good idea to arrive intoxicated to accept your award.

In July of this year, M.A.D.D. held a conference in which law enforcement officers were to receive DUI training. Some officers were set to be honored for their achievements in DUI law enforcement. Pinellas County deputy Michael Szeliga was such an officer.

Things did not go as expected, however. A 274-page internal affairs investigation into an incident at the conference brought to light details regarding the officer. The deputy reportedly skipped out on training courses and instead chose to drink by the pool with other deputies. He showed up at the awards banquet in a drunken and belligerent state according to witnesses.

Szeliga was due to accept an award from M.A.D.D. for making more than 100 DUI arrests. His supervisors ordered him to forgo the banquet and the award due to his behavior. The deputy admitted to consuming a few drinks, but denied being inebriated despite multiple witness statements to the contrary.

As punishment for his actions, Szeliga was suspended for one day with pay. This was due to violating the Pinellas County Sheriff Department’s “code of conduct.”

If you or someone you know has been arrested on charges of DUI, hiring an experienced DUI attorney is a priority. An attorney familiar with DUI defense can change the outcome of your case. Our attorneys are all experienced in the field of DUI litigation. Contact us today.

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