Former Las Vegas Henry Ruggs III- Did his criminal lawyers mismanage his fatal drunk driving case and leave him with no NFL opportunities after his state prison term
What happened to Henry Ruggs III?
Recently former Las Vegas, Raider, Henry Ruggs III, pled guilty to a fatal drunk driving case in Las Vegas, Nevada. Under the terms of the Agreement with the Prosecution, Ruggs will serve a mandatory minimum three (3) to ten (10) years in State incarceration for an incident which occurred on November 21, 2021. He has no time credit toward this state sentence. Ruggs pled guilty to vehicular manslaughter in a drunk driving crash that killed Tina Tinter and her dog.
Why was Henry Ruggs on electronic monitoring?
Prior to pleading guilty, Ruggs had been out of custody and on electronic monitoring. The Raiders released him immediately following the incident. Prior to this criminal charge, Ruggs was a first-round draft pick for the NFL team and was drafted twelfth over all in 2021. He had played twenty (20) games for the franchise and was considered an up-and-coming player. Ruggs will turn twenty-five years (25) old in January and will therefore will not be able to step on a football field until he is twenty-eight years old (28).
What were the conditions of his electronic monitoring?
Ruggs, despite being on house arrest, was permitted to leave his residence twice a week to train at a workout facility in Las Vegas Valley and obtain medical treatment. Had Ruggs remained in custody following his arrest he would have already served almost two (2) years and been eligible for parole in November 2024, at the age of twenty-five. While it is unlikely that he could return to the football field next year it was still a possibility. Further, Ruggs could have returned to football at the age of twenty-six as opposed to the age of twenty-eight. Two (2) years of his likely most productive NFL years. He will receive no time credit for his electronically monitoring.
It is unclear if Ruggs’ attorneys advised him to remain out of custody, but this case presents an example of poor legal advice if Ruggs’ attorneys did not advise him to begin accruing credit if the intent was to plead guilty all along.
Mandatory Minimum Drunk Driving Sentencing
Similar to Nevada, Pennsylvania and New Jersey maintain mandatory minimum sentencing for fatal drunk driving cases (three (3) years). In these situations, it is important to understand the mandatory minimum sentencing rules as well as the possibility of success at Trial. Ruggs’ attorneys did file Motions to suppress the blood evidence in this case, but that Motion was denied July of last year (July 2022). Even if Ruggs had gone into custody at that time, he still would have at least one (1) year of time credit towards his sentence and another potential lucrative NFL season.
At this point, it is unclear if Ruggs will ever return to the National Football League, but his chances now are certainly less probable at this point.
Obviously, the point of this article is not to downplay Ruggs’ actions, but simply to point out that an attorney’s job is not to focus on the victim, but rather putting the client in the best possible position following a poor decision.
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