Auburn football player Nick Fairly believed he had a deal with prosecutors when he pleaded guilty to a Mobile, Alabama DUI charge.
That stipulation plea deal would have allowed the charge to have been erased from his record if he completed a DUI diversion program, available for offender with no prior arrests.
Prosecutors, however, say there were no promises made, as Fairly had a prior marijuana charge.
Our Birmingham DUI attorneys know that diversion programs can be a great alternative to trial if the evidence against you is substantial. The time and money you invest in the program is priceless when compared to the freedom of not being forever haunted by a criminal charge on your permanent record.
We also know that far too many defense attorneys are eager to get their clients into a plea deal. We believe in a careful, thorough examination of the facts and circumstances of each case before reaching that determination.
We also recognize if a plea deal is ultimately determined to be the best course of action for our client, the terms of that agreement must be clear for all parties involved – before a plea is entered. Otherwise, you risk running into a situation like this.
According to various media reports, Fairly was driving under the influence of alcohol last spring when he was stopped by a state trooper for reportedly traveling nearly 100 miles per hour on Interstate-10 around 1 in the morning.
When the player’s defense attorney entered a no contest stipulation plea deal on his client’s behalf, he acknowledged prosecutors did have enough evidence of DUI and reckless operation. The supposed understanding was that the prosecutor would refer the defendant to a diversion program, which would have allowed the player to walk away with a clean record. As a result, the county district judge accepted the plea and imposed a six-month suspended jail term, a $600 fine, one year of probation and a mandate to attend a DUI course.
However, now the prosecutor is reportedly reneging on the deal, saying that no such agreement ever existed and that the defense was told that the prior possession of marijuana charge would be a roadblock to any such deal.
With the defense now hoping to pull that guilty plea, in light of the fact that no diversion program is being offered.
In order for a defendant to be eligible, he or she must:
- Have the approval of the existing officer;
- Not have any kind of prior criminal record;
- Have a stable source of employment that does not involve transportation of others;
- Have had a blood alcohol level at the time of the arrest that was under 0.14 percent;
- Undergo both a criminal and driving history background check.
Although defense lawyers concede that their client doesn’t technically meet all those requirements, due to the marijuana charge (it was later dismissed anyway), they maintain that prosecutors should be made to hold up their end of the bargain.
The burden of proof regarding whether a deal was in place is currently on the defense.
A county circuit judge is set to rule on the matter later this month.