September 13, 2011
Winnipeg Jets defenseman Dustin Byfuglien(notes) is likely to face criminal charges from his "boating while intoxicated" incident from Aug. 31, according to ESPN. Then it's up to a judge to decide whether to proceed with a criminal hearing.
Gary Lawless of the Winnipeg Free Press has an excellent story on this situation, with context from Byfuglien's lawyer Mitch Robinson, who said that Byfuglien passed a breathalyzer test with a 0.03, under the legal limit in Minnesota of 0.08.
From the Free Press:
"For whatever reason the officer felt he needed further chemical tests from Dustin. So he took Dustin into custody, placed him under arrest and transported him to the sheriff's department and then asked him to take a urine test," said Robinson. "In Minnesota, it's a crime to refuse to take a test when lawfully requested by a police officer to do so. Dustin had received bad advice and the advice he had previously received was to never take a test. That's bad advice. He refused to take the test.
"If he would have taken a blood or urine test he could have definitely proved he was not under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance. Once he refuses, that's it, the officer fills out the paper work. You've refused and that's in itself a crime. They don't have to prove Dustin was intoxicated, they don't have to prove he even had anything to drink. All they have to show is he was lawfully requested to take a test and he refused. So that's what we're dealing with now."
Minneapolis criminal defense attorney Jeffrey Schiek said that the refusal to take a urine test is "very difficult to defend" unless there are mitigating circumstances like a health issue.
As for the issue of Byfuglien attending Jets camp, keep in mind that he's not been found guilty of anything, but Canadian officials "do have the right to refuse" admission into the country, according to Lucy Perillo of Canada Border Crossing Services.
UPDATE: Here's Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff on Buff: