The Los Angeles DUI Law Blog

Marshawn Lynch's DUI Not a Big Deal ... Legally

As far as criminal violations go, Marshawn Lynch's DUI up in Alameda County is pretty damn irrelevant. Lynch was driving, allegedly swerved back and forth in his lane, and was pulled over. There was no accident, no open container, and questionable blood alcohol results, reports the Associated Press. Plus, it was his first DUI.

So, yeah, it's getting way more attention than it deserves.

Now, Mr. Lynch is no saint. He has a bit of a criminal record, including a misdemeanor gun charge in March 2009, here in Los Angeles. He also was the driver in a hit-and-run accident in Buffalo, New York in 2008, reports the AP. He hit a woman in Buffalo's bar district and drove away, though he claimed that he didn't know that he hit her.

Regardless of his past, however, this charge isn't likely to amount to much. According to the AP, his blood alcohol content, tested at the scene with a preliminary alcohol screening device, was at 0.08 on the dot - the legal limit here in California. At the station, a Breathalyzer read higher.

So, both tests read at or above the legal limit. He's nailed, right?

Not exactly. His attorney pointed out those facts to the AP for a reason: the rising blood alcohol theory. The argument is that the person's blood alcohol level was rising when pulled over. Therefore, at the time they were driving, their blood alcohol level was less than 0.08.

Picture this: you've just slammed six cosmos in a row. The alcohol doesn't immediately go into your system. Your body has to digest all of the liquid, including the cranberry juice, before the full effect on your BAC is realized. The effect is even more dramatic for people with full stomachs or those who have had beer, which is more watered-down and calorie-laden.

In short, Lynch has a tenable defense.

If you also consider the fact that this was his first offense, the worst case scenario for him is probably a plea bargain to a lesser alcohol-related reckless driving charge (also known as the Wet Reckless.) That charge carries probation, a fine, and most importantly, no ignition interlock requirement.

Alameda County, like Los Angeles, is one of the pilot program counties that requires first time offenders to install the devices. However, the Wet Reckless charge isn't part of the program.

What he really needs to worry about is the authoritarian dictator known as Roger Goodell. Even a short suspension from the NFL could cost him more than any DUI fine or interlock device would.

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