In a recent post, we noted that a recent rash of DWI charges among football players has called fresh attention to the problem of drinking and driving in the NFL. Justin Blackmon, a first-round draft pick for the Jacksonville Jaguars, is among the most recent players to be charged with the crime.
Blackmon was arrested on June 3 in Oklahoma for going 60 mph in a 35 mph zone. Police alleged that he blew a .24 and .26 on the scene, well beyond the .08 legal limit. Blackmon initially pleaded not guilty at his first appearance. He has since agreed to a pleaded deal, which will defer his jail sentence for one year while he goes through a probationary period. The sentence will be waived after that time if he complies with all the probationary conditions.
Blackmon will be required, among other things, to perform 50 hours of community service, pay of fine of less than $1,000, and enter the NFL's substance-abuse program.
While Blackmon may have taken a wiser path by accepting the plea deal his case, not every DWI defendant will want to take the deal offered by prosecutors. The wisdom of the decision really depends on the unique circumstances of each case. Generally speaking, prosecutors are primarily concerned with getting a conviction, and one cannot expect to get a break from them, so their plea deal might not always be the likeliest best possible outcome.
It is critical, in DWI cases, to target any area where prosecution has a weak case. There are various potential grounds for challenging a DWI charge, including the stop, the arrest, the blood and breath testing, and other procedural mistakes.
Building a solid defense will take into account these types of issues, as well as other unique factors about the case that warrant leniency or even dismissal.
Source: Chicago Tribune, "Jaguars' Blackmon avoids jail with plea deal," July 24, 2012