Dallas Cowboy, Sam Williams, Arrested for Unlawful Possession of a Handgun & Controlled Substances – What are his options and the most important issue to his criminal defense?
I’ve written a number of blogs, articles, and books that a criminal charge can happen to anyone and at any time. While many believe that a criminal charge can’t happen to them given their station in life, this is simply not true. Our criminal defense law firm represents persons charged with crimes and offenses in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. We have defended business executives, lawyers, doctors, teachers, members of the clergy and even professional athletes!
What happened to Dallas Cowboy Sam Willimas
Recently, Sam Williams, a National Football League (NFL) player for the Dallas Cowboys was arrested on criminal charges of possession of a controlled substance (THC) and unlawful carrying of a weapon. The details of the arrest still remain unknown but it is likely that the Williams’ criminal defense lawyers will evaluate the strength of a pre-trial motion to suppress evidence in this case. Williams is now charged with felony and misdemeanor crimes in Texas.
A motion to suppress is often the strongest defense tool in these cases. If illegal search and seizure is not an issue, the defense lawyer can still argue possession at a criminal trial. At a criminal trial, the burden is always on the prosecution.
How should your criminal defense lawyer handle your case involving the illegal possession of a handgun or illegal narcotic?
Whenever a person is charged with a possessory crime involving the illegal possession of a handgun, firearms, an illegal drug or narcotic (aka CDS-controlled dangerous substance) there are two main areas that we target from a defense standpoint—pre-trial illegal search and seizure and trial—actual and/or constructive possession.
It is likely that police did not have a search warrant in this case. It is important to understand, however, that police and law enforcement do not need a search warrant in cases involving illegal possession of a handgun or drugs!
What are the most common exceptions to the search warrant requirement?
The most common exceptions to search warrants include the following situations:
- Searches performed based on police officer’s safety (aka – pat down/frisk)
- Inventory searches (impounded vehicles)
- Search Incident to Arrest
- Automobile (illegal in Pennsylvania but legal in New Jersey)
- Border Check Point
- Airport Searches
If the evidence against Sam Williams is overwhelming, what are his defense options?
It appears that he has no prior significant criminal history. It is likely that his criminal defense lawyer can negotiate a plea to lesser charge or possibly a diversion disposition similar to Pennsylvania’s Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) or New Jersey’s Pre-Trial Intervention (PTI).
Even if Sam Williams doesn’t have a strong defense to these criminal charges. Last year, he was was cited for misdemeanor reckless driving. This prior history, however, will not effect his ability to receive a favorable plea in this case. Williams will likely receive a favorable plea deal or be admitted to a diversion program in which he will make himself eligible for an expungement. While he could face an NFL fine or suspension, this is much better than a criminal record.
If you’re charged with crime involving the illegal possession of handgun or firearm, it is important that your criminal defense attorney evaluate all possible scenarios, including non-trial dispositions in the form of a negotiated guilty plea or an open plea. If your attorney is not able to negotiate the proper plea offer, the only alternative is to proceed to trial.
Regardless of what happened in the criminal or even the civil cases against Williamswill likely face fines and a possible suspension from the NFL. According to the NFL’s league rules under its Collective Bargaining agreement with players any player found to have engaged in this type of conduct is subject to discipline even if there is no criminal conviction.
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