Tampa Bay Criminal Lawyer, Kevin Hayslett, of Carlson, Meissner. Hart & Hayslett, P.A., appeared at the Criminal Court Complex this morning, May 4, 2012, before Judge Federico, on behalf of his client, Nicholas Bollea. Upon arguing his Motion for Early Release from the five-year probation sentence currently being served by Nicholas Bollea, Judge Federico granted Mr. Hayslett's motion. Nicholas Bollea has been granted early release from his probation.
Twenty-one-year-old Bollea did not attend the court hearing. H
e pleaded no contest in 2008 to reckless driving with serious bodily injury. Judgment was withheld, meaning he would not be a felon if he successfully completed all of the terms of his sentence.
The sentence included eight months in the Pinellas County Jail plus five years of probation, 500 hours of community service and court costs.
Bollea, who earlier obtained permission to move to California, did not attend the hearing.
After the decision, his lawyer, Kevin Hayslett, called him with the news.
"Free at last," Hayslett told Bollea, who did not speak with reporters.
"He said it's been a long four years, and he said words can't describe how he feels, and he also wanted me to let you all know that John Graziano continues to be in his heart and his mind," Hayslett said.
Bollea, 21, has completed about 80 percent of his probation, along with more than 500 hours of community service.
"If I didn't grant it now I would be treating him differently from everyone else," Judge Philip Federico said.
Federico noted that early release is not unusual for people who have completed as much of their probation as Bollea has.
"He's done everything we've asked him to do, and he's done it at a young age," said Hayslett. "He's been a model probationer."
Hayslett told reporters Bollea was relieved and happy but will always have the Graziano family in his thoughts.
John Graziano has severe brain injuries stemming from the crash, and his troubled family has experienced more tragedy in recent months. John Graziano's brother, Michael, died in April in a car wreck.
Bollea pleaded no contest in 2008 to reckless driving with serious bodily injury. Judgment was withheld, meaning he would not be a felon if he successfully completed the terms of his sentence.
The judge ruled that Bollea's driver's license should be revoked for three years.
Hayslett said his client, who turned 18 while in jail, is self-employed and attending school. He is involved in campaigns against street racing and in favor of seat belt use. The probation office in California sent a letter endorsing his early release.
"We haven't read about him in TMZ," Hayslett said. "He's under the radar."
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