Police in Florida reported that football star Ventell Bryant was taken into custody in the early morning hours of March 11 for allegedly driving while intoxicated by alcohol. The 23-year-old wide receiver was released from a Hillsborough County detention facility after posting a $500 cash bond. In addition to possible criminal sanctions, Bryant is likely to face disciplinary action from the NFL for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy.
A routine traffic stop escalates
Bryant’s fortunes took a turn for the worse at approximately 2:43 a.m. in Tampa. According to a Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office report, Bryant’s Dodge sedan was pulled over near the intersection of 27th Avenue East and 27th Place because it did not have its headlights on. Bryant allegedly displayed clear signs of intoxication and admitted to consuming several margaritas before driving. The Dallas Cowboys star was remanded into custody after allegedly performing poorly during a standardized field sobriety test. A subsequent toxicology test is said to have revealed Bryant’s blood alcohol concentration to be between .099% and .102%. In Florida, a BAC level of .08% or higher indicates that a driver is drunk.
An NFL career in jeopardy
Bryant did not have an easy path to the NFL. He was a standout player during his time at Temple University, but he was not selected during the 2019 NFL Draft. The Cincinnati Bengals offered him a roster spot after an impressive tryout, and he went on to sign with the Cowboys in September 2019. He is scheduled to earn $585,000 during the last year of his contract with Dallas, but NFL contracts are not guaranteed. Observers believe that Bryant’s drunk driving arrest may have jeopardized his chances of playing in the upcoming NFL season.
Admitting to drinking may be unwise
Experienced criminal law attorneys may advise individuals facing DUI charges to not admit to drinking even if the situation seems bleak. Such admissions are unlikely to change the outcome, and they could make plea negotiations more challenging. Lawyers could also point out that drunk driving charges may be dismissed if the equipment used to conduct toxicology tests was not maintained properly, or strict testing protocols were ignored.