T.J. McDonald, an American football safety for the Los Angeles Rams of the National Football League, was charged with a non-alcohol-related DUI in September.
Last Friday, just after the Rams finished their training session, LA Prosecutor’s Office officially announced that they are filing charges against McDonald. The decision is tied to his arrest earlier this year in May when the car he was driving collided with a parked vehicle in the 22900 block of Gershwin Drive, Woodland Hills area, Los Angeles. Mr. McDonald didn’t flee the scene of the accident and waited for the police to arrive. Officers questioned him at the location of the accident and took him to the police station. After completing the investigation, law enforcement officers concluded that McDonald was driving under the influence of an intoxicating substance other than alcohol.
LAPD Public Information Officer said that the symptoms of drug intoxication were found in McDonald’s blood. The type of drug, McDonald has allegedly used, is not yet defined. California Vehicle Code SECTIONS 23152 states that it is unlawful for a person who is under the influence of any drug to drive a vehicle. A drug can be any illegal substance or even a legally prescribed medication that causes impairment. Thus, even if a person was legally ingesting medication (or anything else), a driver can be guilty of driving under the influence in Los Angeles. And yet, often a substance found in a person’s body, might not have an intoxicating effect. In fact, it is hard to prove that any narcotic impairs a person unless it is evident from the behavior of a person. This allows for a great DUI defense in Los Angeles DUI prosecutions, that any Los Angeles Criminal Defense and DUI attorney can use to win a case like this at trial or convince the prosecution to dismiss your Los Angeles DUI case. In fact, most drug DUI cases have valid defenses that the driver was not driving under the influence of drugs. To defend against such an accusation, the accused can also ask to retest the blood or to get an expert opinion on whether the defendant’s alleged impairment matches the level of narcotics or other substances in his blood. Because the burden to prove a crime is on the state, it is the state’s responsibility to prove impairment. Thus, in a case like this, the defendant and the prosecutor will have an expert forensic toxicologist testify. An expert can base his opinion on matters perceived by or personally known to him at or before the hearing, whether or not admissible (Evidence Code section 802). But also, Evidence Code 805 allows an expert to testify to an ultimate opinion. For example, in the case of People v. Taylor (1957) 152 Cal.App.2nd 29, the court allowed law enforcement to testify as to whether the defendant was driving under the influence of alcohol at a certain time based on a breathalyzer test as a response to a hypothetical question. Thus, at trial, a prosecutor would have an expert testify that based on a certain level of “narcotics” in Mr. McDonalds’s blood, he was under the influence of that drug. A Los Angeles DUI Attorney defending Mr. McDonald would call his own expert who would testify that the presence of any level of any narcotic in the blood cannot predict impairment.
The state here brought charges of a misdemeanor violation of the law against Mr. McDonald and if he is proven guilty, he could face up to a maximum punishment of 6 months in county jail and 1000$ in fines for driving under the influence of drugs.
Mr. McDonald was let out on bail on the day of arrest. He is scheduled to be arraigned in Van Nuys on October 7, 2016.
Mr. McDonald didn’t comment on the accident, but he acknowledged his involvement in a car accident. It’s still not clear whether he will be suspended from playing for the Rams. In their statement to the press the Rams claimed it was not the right time to comment on the case that is still under investigation and there is no legal filing yet.
McDonald’s had an injury to his shoulder last season and had to undergo surgery. The team moved him to “injured reserve” causing McDonald to miss all off-season activities. He joined the team workouts only at the end of July. The team was behind McDonald throughout the summer, even though the decision on charges hadn’t been reached. His coach stated that McDonald was in good form and showed wonderful results during the game with the San Francisco 49ers on September 15.
J. McDonald was selected by the Rams in the third round, with the 71st overall pick, of the 2013 NFL Draft. He started in 11 of the team’s first 12 games in 2015 when the Los Angeles Rams played in the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis, Missouri, and missed the final four because of his shoulder injury. The Rams are a Los Angeles team now, after almost 50 years of relocating.
J McDonald’s father, Tim McDonald, played safety in the National Football League for thirteen seasons during the 1980s and 1990s. He is currently the defensive backs coach for the Buffalo Bills. His brother, Tevin William McDonald is also a safety playing for the Oakland Raiders.
If you have been accused of Driving Under the Influence and you are not sure what to do, please call our office and talk to a professional! We can help you win your Los Angeles DUI drug case because it is very hard for the government to prove impairment based on the level of any narcotic or drug in the blood.
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