To no surprise, Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch has pleaded not guilty to DUI charges in Oakland, California. To even less surprise, his lawyer believes that it’s going to take time to resolve the case.
“We will prove that Marshawn was not under the influence when he was pulled over on the evening in question,” lawyer Ivan Golde said, via the San Francisco Chronicle. “There is much investigation that needs to be done in this case in that there are many questions about what occurred that are unanswered at this time. It is going to take some time to unravel everything and, when we do, I am very confident that Marshawn will be exonerated completely.”
Regardless of whether such an extensive and detailed investigation is needed in order to determine whether Lynch’s blood-alcohol concentration equaled or exceeded the legal limit of 0.08 percent, a delayed resolution ensures that Lynch can’t be suspended in 2012, because he can’t be suspended until the case is resolved.
Even then, Lynch may not be suspended, despite a prior history of two off-field incidents. As we’ve previously explained, DUIs fall under the substance-abuse policy, not the personal-conduct policy. For a first-offense DUI (and Lynch is a first-time DUI offender), the penalty ordinarily is a fine in the amount of two game checks.
That said, if Lynch’s camp is confident there won’t be a suspension, he’d be wise to take his alcohol-free medicine in 2012, not 2013. With a base salary of $4 million this year and $7 million next year, the two-game-check fine would cost $352,941.17 more next year than it would cost this year.
(That said, the Seahawks can always renegotiate his deal and slash his base salary, a fairly easy way to reduce the impact of fines tied to game checks.)
Regardless, even though Golde has created the impression that he wants to move quickly by moving the arraignment from August 15 to Thursday, look for Golde to deftly tap the breaks whenever and however he can.