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DWI charge against Maryland basketball player dropped

A senior member of the University of Maryland basketball team will be eligible to play in the team's season opener after the drunk driving charge that had been filed against his was dropped earlier this month. Because he is no longer facing a DUI or DWI offense, the Maryland student-athlete code of conduct no longer applies to him, and, as such, he will not be suspended from any upcoming basketball games.

The DUI charge was filed against senior forward James Padgett in June, after he was stopped by Maryland police for driving without his headlights on. He was arrested and charged with drunk driving after a series of breathalyzer tests allegedly revealed that his blood alcohol level was above the legal limit.

In a preliminary hearing, however, Padgett's criminal defense lawyers argued that the arresting officers had not followed proper procedure, and that the results of the breathalyzer tests should be thrown out. Specifically, the defense attorneys argued, the police waited only eight minutes to administer the second, follow-up breath test. Procedure dictates that there must be at least a 20-minute window in between breathalyzers. By failing to wait, the attorneys stated, Padgett's mouth did not have a sufficient amount of time to dissipate the alcohol that had collected.

The judge presiding over Padgett's case agreed, and dismissed the DUI charge. Padgett then pleaded guilty to the remaining charge of reckless driving, for which he was also arrested on the same night in June. He was sentenced to one year of unsupervised probation, 48 hours of probation and a $250 fine.

Source: NBC Sports, "Report: Maryland's James Padgett gets DWI charge dropped, will get no suspension," Terrence Payne, Oct. 19, 2012

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