Marcell Dareus Set To Stand Trial for Off-the-Field Reckless Driving Incident

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.

Marcell Dareus
Buffalo Bills tackle Marcell Dareus who was charged with reckless driving after an alleged drag race. (Source: Wikipedia)

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.

Reckless Driving Can Land You in Jail, Just Ask Jayson Werth

You may think reckless driving is just another traffic violation like speeding or running a stop sign, but you’d be wrong. In New York, as in several other states, reckless driving is a criminal charge that can carry a jail sentence if convicted.

Jayson Werth
Nationals outfielder Jayson Werth who was sentenced to 10 days in prison for reckless driving. (Photo Source: Wikipedia)

Virginia is one of those states that list reckless driving as a jailable offense, as Washington Nationals outfielder Jayson Werth recently found out. Convicted on December 5, 2014, Werth was sentenced to 10 days in jail for driving his Porche at a speed of over 100 mph in a 55 mph zone on the Capital Beltway in Fairfax, VA.  Werth’s driver’s license will also be suspended for 6 months due to his conviction.

Given the excessive rate of speed, Fairfax County General District Court Judge Penny A. Azcarte said that a jail sentence was appropriate. In imposing the sentence, Judge Azcarte noted that, “I-495 is not a racetrack,” and that the sentence would have been the same regardless of what that person did for a living.

During his hearing, Werth admitted that he may have been driving 90 mph, but denied that his speed ever broke the 100 mph mark.  Werth’s attorney, Rod Leffler, unsuccessfully sought to have the case against his client dismissed by challenging the reliability of the state trooper’s pacing of Werth. Leffler also requested that the court take into account that at the time his client was excessively speeding, traffic was light.

Werth, 35, who is currently under a 7-year $126 million contract with the Nationals, has the option of appealing his conviction to the Fairfax County Circuit Court, but there is no word yet on whether he will take up an appeal.  Practically speaking, although sentenced to 10 days in jail, he will most likely only serve five of the ten days due to county jail rules and procedures.

Under New York law, reckless driving is a serious offense and is considered a criminal misdemeanor in most cases. In 2011, the New York State senate passed a bill that created the offense of aggravated reckless driving that carries even harsher penalties for driving recklessly while operating a vehicle under the influence or for driving down a roadway in the wrong direction.  If you are charged with aggravated reckless driving in NY, it is considered a Class E felony.

If you are charged with reckless driving in NY, in addition to five points assessed against your NY State driver’s license, a conviction will result in a non-expungable criminal record.  This means that the conviction cannot be erased from your record, will appear on criminal background checks, and can affect your ability to find a job, obtain student loans, and travel. Additionally, as in Virginia, a reckless driving conviction can result in a jail sentence on a first offense, which in NY can be for up to 30 days. This jail sentence is increased to up to 90 days on a second offense, and up to 180 days on a third offense.

In NY, there are also heavy fines that are associated with a reckless driving conviction. On a first offense, you can be fined up to $300.  If charged with a second offense within 18 months of a first offense, a reckless driving conviction can result in a fine of $525. A third offense for reckless driving is punishable with a fine of up to $1,125. On top of the hefty fines, a reckless driving conviction on your driver’s record can increase your auto insurance rates 40% or more!

If you have been charged with reckless driving in NY and would like to avoid these very serious and expensive consequences, contact The Rosenblum Law Firm today at 888-883-5529 for a free consultation with an experienced traffic attorney.

Celebrity Bad Behavior Behind The Wheel

Justin Bieber at the 2010 White House Easter E...

 

Teenagers usually get a bad rap when it comes to some of the decisions they make behind the wheel.   Teenagers are notorious for speeding, running lights and getting distracted behind the wheel.  Recently, some of the major telephone companies like Sprint, AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile all joined together to sponsor a multi-million dollar campaign to stop some of these poor choices like texting while driving. 

 

It’s definitely a tough task to send a message to wild teenagers behind the wheel, but how do you get across to someone who’s earned millions of dollars before he was old enough to drive?  Justin Bieber is probably the most famous teenager in the world and has a garage of cars worth a couple million dollars.  But as any other celebrity that feels they may be above the law, Mr. Bieber is going to learn real soon that even he will have be facing the weight of the law if he doesn’t clean up his act.

 

Earlier this week teen pop star Justin Beiber found himself in trouble with the Los Angeles Police Department after being reports surfaced that Bieber was speeding around in his white Ferrari within a gated community.   It was said that on Sunday Beiber was driving recklessly around his neighborhood at a high rate of speed and in the vicinity of children playing.  Two separate calls were placed to the LAPD, with one of the calls allegedly being placed by former football star Keyshawn Johnson.

 

It has also been reported that after Keyshawn Johnson witnessed Mr. Bieber’s actions that he got in his Prius and chased Bieber down to confront him about his erratic behavior behind the wheel.  Johnson’s daughter is said to have been playing in the area of where Justin was driving and the former NFL star wanted to send Justin a message to let him know that he was not cool with the way the teenager was driving around.   It is expected the Sheriff’s office will file misdemeanor charges against the pop star.  Currently the pop star is refusing to comment on the incident.

 

Whether you are a celebrity or not and you have a run in with the law for reckless driving (VTL 1212), call the Rosenblum Law Firm today for a free consultation.  We have helped thousands of clients just like you fight traffic violations and avoid heavy fines and increased insurance costs.

 

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