The Alameda County (CA.) district attorney’s office Wednesday formally charged Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch with driving under the influence. A spokesperson for the office confirmed in an email to the Associated Press that Lynch had been charged. Lynch is scheduled for a court date Aug. 14.
Lynch’s attorney, Ivan Golde, told AP that he feels the case could get thrown out or reduced because of discrepancies in blood-alcohol tests. In a phone interview, Golde said that Lynch blew a .08, which is the California legal limit, during a preliminary alcohol screening when Lynch was pulled over by the California Highway Patrol Saturday. Golde said that when Lynch was retested at the jail, he blew above a .08.
“We think we have a really strong case,” Golde said, saying that a rising BAC suggests he had a lower reading, at or below the legal limit, while driving.
Lynch was spotted weaving on Interstate 880 in the Oakland area, leading to his arrest. A CHP incident report described Lynch as driving a Ford Econoline van and having two near collisions with other vehicles driving in adjacent lanes.
Lynch has had no legal issues with the Seahawks since joining them in 2010. But he had two brushes with the law when he played for the Buffalo Bills. He pleaded guilty in March 2009 to a misdemeanor gun charge in Los Angeles, and was sentenced to 80 hours of community service and three years’ probation. He was also suspended three games by the league for violating the NFL personal conduct policy.
Lynch signed a four-year contract in March that will keep him in a Seattle uniform for the balance of his NFL career. The contract is worth $31 million, including a guaranteed $18 million. Lynch rushed for 1,204 yards and 12 touchdowns last season.
Even if Lynch is found innocent of DUI, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has wide latitude in punishing players for off-field transgressions. Lynch’s arrest could lead to a suspension, or worse.
The Seahawks have yet to comment on the situation, other than to say they are “gathering information.”