The Braylon Edwards Case: a criminal defense lawyer's persp

by Vault Law Editors | September 21, 2010

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Jets wide receiver Braylon Edwards was arrested early this morning on a drunken driving charge in Manhattan.  Edwards, who police say was intially pulled over for having overly tinted windows, blew a .16 on the Intoxilyzer (a Breathalyzer device), after failing a sobriety test at the scene.  The Law Blog is fortunate to be able to turn to criminal defense attorney (and former Manhattan prosecutor)  Jeremy Saland, of Crotty Saland LLP, for instant expert analysis of how the case might develop:

While it is too early to give a full analysis of Edwards' DWI case, as a general rule, Manhattan prosecutors do not make non-criminal offers on DWI arrests where the BAC level is as high as .16 […] 

Here, because of the level of the alleged intoxication and the prior assault in Cleveland on a friend of LeBron James, it is likely that no offer will be made. That is, he will be required to plead guilty to a misdemeanor. The potential punishments for a first time offender include up to one year in jail, a fine from $500 to $1000, potential community service or probation, a drinking and driving program, and a three year assessment / fee on one's license. Moreover, one's license will be revoked six months. A stay of that revocation may be made at the time of sentencing so that the convicted may apply for a conditional license relating to work. Compounding matters, as of August 15, 2010, Leandra's Law requires that an ignition interlock device be installed on one's vehicle at the expense of that person. Those convicted of DWI as a misdemeanor cannot drive any vehicle without such a device.

It is an interesting side note that the Manhattan District Attorney's Office has recently begun presenting misdemeanor DWIs to the Grand Jury. Some might contend that Supreme Court Judges will take these cases more seriously than their Criminal Court counterparts, so this approach amounts to “judge shopping,” and therefore potentially raises ethical questions. Where Edwards will find himself is yet to be seen.

Even assuming that an offer is not made, Edwards and his criminal defense lawyer need not throw their hands up in the air. What was the basis of the stop? Why was the vehicle pulled over? When Mr. Edwards was given a Breathalyzer or Intoxilyzer, was it done so properly? Was he advised of his rights? Was the machine in proper working order and calibrated correctly?

Read Jeremy Saland’s full analysis of the Edwards case at the New York Criminal Lawyer Blog.

Crotty Saland LLP is a Manhattan based criminal defense firm. Prior to starting Crotty Saland LLP, its two founding New York criminal defense lawyers served as prosecutors under Robert Morgenthau in the Manhattan District Attorney's Office. Crotty Saland LLP represents the accused throughout the New York City region.

-posted by brian

 

photo: wireimage

Braylon Edwards

Tinted glasses, over-tinted windows

Filed Under: Law

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