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NFL player facing drunk driving charges after traffic stop

Football fans in California may have seen P.J. Williams most recently when his New Orleans Saints were beaten by the Los Angeles Rams in the NFC Championship game. However, they may not know that the promising 25-year-old cornerback was taken into custody for driving drunk after being pulled over by police in Louisiana during the early morning hours of Jan. 23. Media accounts of the incident reveal that this is not the first time Williams has been accused of getting behind the wheel after consuming alcohol.

According to a New Orleans Police Department report, Williams was pulled over at approximately 1:10 a.m. on Camp Street near Andrew Higgins Boulevard for driving at 80 mph in a 50-mph zone. Police say that the football star was also driving erratically and failed to use his turn signal. The officers involved claim that Williams showed signs of intoxication but declined to submit to a breath test at the scene. Reports indicate that he was released on his own recognizance about three hours after being booked.

Williams has had several previous brushes with the law. In 2014, police in Tallahassee, Fla., were criticized for leniency when Williams escaped criminal charges after causing a serious accident and fleeing the scene. A year later, while still a standout at Florida State University, Williams was charged with driving under the influence. However, those charges were later dropped.

Experienced criminal defense attorneys would likely discourage those worried about possible drunk driving charges from refusing to submit to toxicology testing. This is because doing so will generally lead to a mandatory driver’s license suspension. Refusing to cooperate with police rarely leads to more lenient treatment. In fact, it may make it more difficult for attorneys to negotiate a favorable plea agreement.

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John Patrick Ryan has been practicing law for over 20 years. Experienced in criminal law. U.S. Navy Veteran.