A three-hour hearing for an ex-Washington Redskins defensive back ended with a Fairfax, Virginia, judge's conclusion that the former pro ballplayer was competent to stand trial for drunk driving. The 68-year-old retired football player was arrested last winter for DUI, his alleged third alcohol-related traffic offense in five years.
The former football player spent five years with the Redskins starting in 1965. He retired after two additional seasons with the New England Patriots and a stint in the World Football League. He most recently worked as a security guard.
The retired player's family and a former football teammate testified that the former player often had trouble remembering phone calls and frequently became lost. Two mental health professionals - one for the defense and another appointed by the Fairfax County Circuit Court - told the judge that the suspected drunk driver suffers from dementia.
The ex-player's lawyer argued that his client's condition made him unable to participate in his own defense. The judge, however, ruled that the DUI trial can proceed.
Fairfax County police arrested the former NFL player in December. The ex-defensive back was convicted of drunk driving in 2007 and sentenced to license restrictions. He was picked up in Fairfax later that same year on a second DUI charge. That conviction cost him his driving privileges for three years. He also served 20 days in jail.
It is not clear when his trial will take place. A conviction for a third DUI carries a jail term of at least six months.
As is evident from this case, Virginia courts take drunk driving very seriously. Being accused of DUI can be frightening and very overwhelming, especially for those who may have difficulty participating in their own defense. In situations like this, an experienced defense attorney may be helpful in determining your best options going forward.
Source: The Washington Post, "Former Redskin ruled competent to stand trial for drunk driving," Mary Pat Flaherty, Aug. 15, 2011