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Another Patriots Football Player in Trouble - DUI Refusal While on Probation

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I am a huge football fan and criminal defense lawyer, so I have been following the murder investigation involving former New England Patriots's tight end Aaron Hernandez. The team cut the Hernandez shortly after he was arrested and charged with murder. Much has been made in the media about Hernandez's questionable past and how that past hurt his draft status as he left Florida. The owner of the Patriots has publicly stated that he was "duped" by Hernandez. In the Hernandez case, it sure sounds as if the Patriot's owner has already convicted Hernandez of the offense.

While the Patriots are dealing with that high profile case, one of their starting cornerbacks was arrested for suspicion of driving under the influence, but the player refused to submit to chemical testing to determine his blood alcohol level. Generally speaking, a person that refuses a blood or breath test can still be charged with driving under the influence under a General Impairment DUI law. A General Impairment charge in Pennsylvania basically alleges that a driver consumed enough alcohol that the person was incapable of safe driving, basically saying that the person was too drunk to drive. In order to prove such a charge, the officer will testify as to the person's poor driving that led to the traffic stop, general signs of intoxication that were noticed, such as slurred speech, bloodshot eyes, difficulty standing, and performance on field sobriety tests.

Resentencing For Probation Violation 

An additional complication is that the cornerback was sentenced in April of 2013 to 30 days in jail and 2 years of probation for a felony charge of assaulting a police officer and a misdemeanor offense of resisting arrest. If the player is convicted of the new DUI charge, he will most assuredly be held to have violated  his probationary sentence. Also, many probationary sentences prohibit a person from drinking, possessing, or even being in an establishment that serves alcohol. Therefore, the cornerback could possibly violate the probationary sentence if it can be proved that he simply consumed alcohol.

When a criminal defendant violates a sentence of probation, the sentencing judge revokes the sentence and will often impose a more severe sentence, and the new sentence may include jail time. The possibility of receiving jail time on a probation revocation increases if the violation is severe. For example, if the cornerback is charged and convicted of the DUI, the judge may impose a more severe sentence on a probation revocation proceeding because the man not only drank but also committed a new severe violation. I once had a client that was serving a probationary sentence on a State College felony drug delivery of marijuana case, and the client violated the sentence by drinking and being charged with Public Drunkenness. The judge revoked the probationary sentence based upon the violations and sentenced the client to spend not less than 5 months in jail.

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