In the fall of 2014, star Pittsburgh Steeler running back Leveon Bell was charged with a misdemeanor marijuana possession and various drug-DUI charges. Bell was charged after marijuana was found in a vehicle that had been driven by Bell. Bell admitted to having contributed money to purchase the marijuana and to having smoked some of the marijuana earlier in the day, but he denied that he was actually high at the time that he was driving. Bell thought that he was able to legally drive in Pennsylvania and avoid drunk driving charges as long as he was not high while driving. Regrettably for Bell, he was wrong about the law, and ignorance of the law is not a defense.
A Pittsburgh area police officer recently stopped a vehicle after smelling marijuana coming from the car. Imagine the officer's surprise when he discovered that two of the three occupants in the car were Pittsburgh Steelers running backs. I am sure that the officer would have preferred to see the Steelers star players at Heinz Field as opposed to being part of a marijuana possession investigation. Because the one player was behind the wheel at the time, he was arrested for suspicion of driving under the influence. Both players were charged with Possession of a Small Amount of Marijuana under 35 P.S. § 780-113(a)(31), an ungraded misdemeanor, punishable by up to 30 days in jail, a $500.00 fine, and a suspension of Pennsylvania driving privileges. One player was also charged with Driving Under Influence under 75 Pa.C.S.A. § 3802(d)(2), which is also an ungraded misdemeanor. If this were a first offense of DUI, the maximum sentence for this charge would be 6 months incarceration, a $5,000.00 fine, and a 12-month suspension of Pennsylvania driving privileges.