After appearing in the Hamburg Town Court last Tuesday on reckless driving, reckless endangerment and a host of other related charges, 25 year old Buffalo Bills defensive tackle Marcell Dareus is scheduled to be back in court on May 19th to stand trial. The charges stem from an incident that occurred nearly a year ago on May 30, when he crashed his car into a tree during an alleged street race with Jerry Hughes, another Bills defensive lineman.
The wreck was one of two off-the-field incidents that landed Dareus in legal trouble and that he is trying to resolve. Earlier in May, while being stopped for speeding in Alabama, Dareus was arrested and charged with felony possession of a controlled dangerous substance, “spice,” also known as synthetic cannabis. For this charge, Dareus was allowed to enter a pre-trial intervention program which stipulates that if he completes the court-ordered requirements, which include his participation in the NFL’s substance abuse program, the felony possession charge will be dismissed, and the arrest can be erased from his record.
Unfortunately for Dareus, NY is not letting him off that easy with respect to the charges that culminated from his May 30 crash in Erie County, NY. According to police reports, on May 30, Dareus wrecked a 2012 Jaguar, during what law enforcement has described as drag racing, on a public street in a Buffalo suburb. Police say that that Dareus lost control of the car, jumped the curb, and hit a tree about 10 yards from an entrance to the Mongolian Buffet restaurant. Police assert that Dareus, who was uninjured in the crash, fled the wrecked vehicle, but was arrested 15 minutes later.
As a result of the May 30th incident, the former Huffman High School and Alabama Crimson Tide standout is charged with reckless endangerment, reckless driving, participating in an illegal speed contest, leaving the scene of a property-damage accident, failure to keep right, speeding, and making an unsafe lane change. Although Dareus has pleaded not guilty to the charges, his teammate Jerry Hughes, who was not charged, has admitted that he was indeed racing Dareus in his Camaro on May 30.
Despite the admission of Dareus’s teammate, Michael Caffery, Dareus’s attorney turned down an offer from the prosecution that involved Dareus pleading guilty to the reckless driving charge. Athough under the proposed agreement all other charges against Dareus would be dismissed, Caffery did not “want [his] client to plead guilty to a crime.” In NY, once you plead guilty or are convicted of a reckless driving charge, not only is the record of your conviction permanent (meaning that it cannot be expunged), but you are also facing up to 30 days in jail, even on a first offense. With a new trial date set for May 19, 2015 and a pre-trial conference set for March 12, the Buffalo News has reported that Caffery said he and the Erie County District Attorney’s office agreed to the postponement to continue discussions in an attempt to “resolve the case without going to trial.”
If you’ve been charged with reckless driving anywhere in New York State, The Rosenblum Law Firm can help. Call us at 888-883-5529 for a free consultation.