Nick Fairley of the Detroit Lions was supposed to go to trial Wednesday in Alabama for his DUI arrest back in May of 2012. Instead, he was practicing with his fellow teammates in Detroit. What gives? Is he trying to outrun the law?
The short answer is no. Fairley is still within his legal rights because his lawyer was working on a plea deal to get him in a diversion program so he can practice and play and not have to leave football to face a trial. The lawyer didn’t think Fairley should have to face a trial as a first time offender.
The Alabama prosecutor thinks differently, however.
When Ashley Rich, the county District Attorney, was asked about the deal, her reaction was one of surprise. It seems that she never agreed to a plea deal and never signed off on Fairley being able to participate in a diversion program. Fairley’s lawyer must have forgotten to inform her he had plans for his client. Oops.
The diversion program is where first time offenders have six months to one year of probation and educational classes to attend. Once the program is completed successfully, they leave the program with no criminal charges on their record.
Rich said Fairley’s case would need to be reviewed, just like every other person’s is. Each person is looked at in terms of their criminal history, whether they have a steady job, and if it was a one time mistake. Since there was written approval from the judge, Fairley can remain with the team while the case is reviewed.
The snag in avoiding a DUI trial might be that Fairley is still awaiting trial where he must appear in November because he was in possession of marijuana in the offseason. If he is fined or convicted on that charge before he is allowed in the program, it would probably prevent him from being allowed in. If he cannot participate in the program, then they go to trial. Most likely, Fairley and his lawyer are hoping to speed up the review of his case so his status in the program is decided before the marijuana trial comes to light, even though they hope those charges are dropped.
The NFL has held off punishing him for either event until the justice system works first. If he is charged with either crime, then he will probably face a suspension and/or a fine after.