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University of Oregon football player fights DUII charges

In criminal cases, people often hear about agreeing to a plea deal to quickly end a case. With a plea deal, people generally plead guilty to a lesser crime in exchange for a lighter sentence. Plea deals allow prosecutors to cheaply settle a case. However, people need to know that they have many criminal defense options available after they have been accused of a crime and that they do not have to choose a plea deal.

For example, in a recent case involving a football player from the University of Oregon the man decided to fight criminal charges through a jury trial. In this case, police claim that the man was pulled over for speeding. During the traffic stop, police claim that they suspected that the man had been drinking. According to police, the man struggled to pass a field sobriety test. However, a breath test showed that he had no alcohol in his system.

A drug expert was brought in that suspected the man had been using illegal drugs. A urine test came back positive for marijuana; however a second test came back negative. Despite the mixed results the man was charged with DUII -- a misdemeanor charge.

The football player has since chosen to fight the charges in court. During the jury trial, the prosecutors will have the burden to prove that the man had been under the influence of marijuana at the time of the traffic stop. The jury must unanimously agree with the prosecutors in order for the man to be found guilty.

For some, a plea deal may be their best option. However, in other cases, criminal defenses are available that can mitigate the charges. People should explore all of their criminal defense options before agreeing to any sort of deal with prosecutors.

Source: The Register-Guard, "Athlete fights DUII charge," Jack Moran, Jan. 24, 2013

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