September 29, 2012

Oakland Raiders Wide Receiver Plans to Fight DUI Charges at Trial

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By guest-writer

Oakland Raiders wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey plans to fight his recent DUI charge at trial, according to a recent San Jose Mercury News report on the NFL player’s legal troubles.

This offseason has been full of drunk driving arrests by NFL players, and the league and its teams have started to take notice. Both the NFL and several teams have threatened to increase penalties for such legal troubles, but they must first wait for the legal system to sort out the players’ alleged crimes.

In this case, it appears that Heyward-Bey is planning to fight his charges, which include one count of driving under the influence of alcohol.

Sources say that the wide receiver told a San Francisco judge last week that he was planning to plead not guilty to the charge, and that he intended to have his guilt determined by a jury trial. That trial is slated to begin on July 23.

The majority of DUI cases in most states are usually handled through plea bargaining, which saves the defendant and the state time and money, but many people who are arrested for drunk driving opt to fight the charges during a trial.

According to sources, Heyward-Bey’s DUI attorney believes that there may have been some procedural errors during the wide receiver’s arrest that invalidated the charges.

In his attorney’s words, “[a]fter investigating all the procedures and all the chain of events, it appears not everything was done according to the rule of law, and there may be some questions that need to go before a jury.”

Common procedural errors that may occur during a DUI arrest include a failure to read the arrestee his or her Miranda rights, improper use of breathalyzers or other equipment used to detect blood alcohol levels, and other police mistakes.

If one of these mistakes occurred during Heyward-Bey’s arrest, it’s entirely possible that his DUI arrest could be deemed unlawful, and he would escape punishment for his alleged drunk driving incident.

Still, the 25-year-old wide receiver has a tough task ahead of him, as sources say that his blood alcohol content at the time of his arrest was 0.12, which is well above the legal limit of .08.

In the meantime, the Oakland Raiders are withholding judgment on their player’s actions until they know the outcome of his trial.

According to his coach, Dennis Allen, the team is “monitoring” the situation and will wait and see “how the whole legal proceedings carry out.”

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The acronyms DUI, DWI, OMVI and OVI all refer to the same thing: operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The most commonly used terms are DUI, an acronym for Driving Under the Influence, and DWI, an acronym for Driving While Impaired.
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