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NFL star faces an uncertain future after DUI guilty plea

The penalties for driving drunk can be severe in Wisconsin and around the country, but the consequences of getting behind the wheel after drinking sometimes go far beyond jail time, probation and fines. Individuals who drive for a living will be unable to earn a paycheck if their driver's licenses are suspended or revoked, and those who work in the public eye are often required to abide by the terms of strict substance-abuse policies.

The National Football League knows that its players are role models for a great number of American children, and they take violations of their substance-abuse policy very seriously as a result. New England Patriots wide receiver Michael Floyd pleaded guilty to a charge of extreme DUI in Arizona on Feb. 16, and details of his case could prompt the NFL to issue a lengthy suspension. The standard penalty in DUI cases involving NFL players is a suspension lasting for two games, but this can be lengthened considerably if league officials feel that aggravating factors are involved.

Factors that could lengthen an NFL ban include a prior history of alcohol or drug problems, a blood alcohol level of more than .015 percent and an accident that causes injury, death or significant property damage. While Floyd was not involved in an accident, he was found to have a blood alcohol content of .217 percent when he was taken into custody by Arizona police in December. The wide receiver was also involved in three alcohol-related incidents while studying at Notre Dame University.

The evidence in drunk driving cases is often compelling, and prosecutors may be reluctant to show leniency when the drivers involved have a prior history of drunk driving. When confronted with such a situation, experienced criminal defense attorneys may seek to have DUI charges dismissed by challenging the validity of breath or blood test results or questioning the conduct of the law enforcement officers involved.

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