By Steve Kallas
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So, the Jets made it clear last Sunday that winning is the only thing. They sat Braylon Edwards for a quarter after his DWI (Driving While Intoxicated) arrest last week on 34th Street and 12th Avenue in Manhattan. All Edwards did was come in and win the game for the Jets over Miami, with a long TD catch and run (I know, I know, the corner fell down), a key pass interference call in the end zone against the Dolphins and an excellent hook route late in the game to get a key first down. Whatever you think of Edwards playing at all (preposterous), from a “team philosophy” perspective, the Jets have made their bed.
SO WHAT HAPPENS LEGALLY TO BRAYLON EDWARDS?
Here’s what will probably happen to Braylon Edwards on his DWI charge in Manhattan, assuming no prior alcohol-related legal issues (none seem to exist). According to a source close to the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, the Manhattan DA does not plead down on DWI charges. So the violation with which Edwards is charged, that is, a violation of Vehicle and Traffic Law section 1192(2), a misdemeanor, will go forward and, in all likelihood, will not be reduced.
While Braylon Edwards is, of course, innocent until proven guilty, he will have a hard time disputing the fact that, according to published reports, he blew a .16 blood alcohol level at the scene and also blew a .16 back at the station house on the more sophisticated equipment that is present in New York City precinct houses. As you probably know by now, that is twice the legal limit of .08.
WHAT ABOUT THE STOP FOR TINTED WINDOWS?
While that may turn out to be an interesting legal question, it will not change the actual arrest and prosecution of Edwards on the DWI. According to published reports, the car that Edwards was driving had Michigan plates. But even if the window tinting laws of Michigan (yes, there are window tinting laws) differ from those of New York, it will not negate the stop and arrest if the police officer had probable cause to believe that a traffic infraction (that is, driving a car with illegally tinted windows) had occurred prior to stopping Edwards’ car at 5:15 in the morning on 34th Street.
WHAT’S THE PUNISHMENT FOR EDWARDS IF CONVICTED?
According to an attorney who has handled a number of DWI cases in Manhattan, the punishment for a first-time DWI in Manhattan is a conditional discharge with a fine and a loss of license for six months. Actual jail time for Edwards is highly unlikely. In addition, however, under the new Leandra’s Law that recently went into effect in New York, Braylon Edwards will have an interlock device placed in his car(s). That is, he will have to blow into a machine attached in his car (or any car that he drives) before the car can be started.
WHAT ABOUT THAT PROBATION IN OHIO?
As many of you know, Braylon Edwards was put on probation late last year in Ohio after he allegedly punched out a friend of LeBron James in a Cleveland nightclub (James called Edwards’ behavior “childish”). As a result of that probation, Edwards may very well be in jeopardy in Cleveland if he is convicted of DWI in New York. In fact, this is the only real chance that Edwards will do some jail time as a result of driving while intoxicated.
Braylon Edwards’ next court date in Manhattan is on November 9th. It appears unlikely, however, according to a source, that the Manhattan case will be resolved before the end of the football season.
And that will probably be fine with the winning-is-the-only-thing New York Jets.