A Punta Gorda man is trying to get his life back together after spending a week in the Charlotte County Jail for a crime he didn’t commit. And now he wants to make sure what happened to him doesn’t happen to anyone else.
John Andrews, 24, had just finished serving 10 months in jail for two DUI charges in Sarasota County. But he ended up in jail again after an arrest last week at his brother’s house in Englewood.
A Charlotte County deputy arrived after a neighbor reported suspicious activity. Andrews said there was none, and before he knew it was told he was under arrest.
“I’ve tried. I’ve done my part. I shouldn’t have to go back in there,” he said. “For what? And they say it’s a violation of probation for a DUI. I said, ‘No, that’s impossible. I’m not even on probation, officer.'”
Andrews went to jail, and even though he kept insisting there was a mix-up, no one listened.
“It’s a big change,” he said. “Everything is changed. You lose all of your rights.”
Andrews’ attorney, Scott Weinberg, said it seems like a paperwork mix-up between Charlotte and Sarasota counties that led to the arrest, and he said it’s something he’s seen before.
“For two counties that are so close together,” he said, “they really should work on their communication skills.”
Andrews is warning others that it could happen to them, too.
“I’m just scared,” he said. “If that happened to me on a bogus thing like that. People have messaged me this has happened to them last year.”