McNair faces court delay

QB's hearing in DUI case moved to July 10

dismissal hinted at but fails to materialize


May 31, 2007|By Jamison Hensley | Jamison Hensley,Sun Reporter

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Ravens quarterback Steve McNair's court appearance for a charge related to driving under the influence has been delayed until July 10 after it seemed the case would be dismissed.

"We thought we had a conclusion," McNair's lawyer, Roger May, said outside the courtroom. "Apparently, someone in the [district attorney's] office wants to review the file. Obviously, I'm disappointed."

A clerk for the criminal court in Nashville told a reporter after yesterday's pretrial hearing that McNair's DUI by consent charge had been dismissed and that the DUI charge against his brother-in-law, Jamie Cartwright, had been reduced to reckless driving.

But a spokeswoman for the court later said neither matter had been resolved and added that the court's Web site - which had McNair's case as being "concluded" - would be changed. She declined to comment on the specifics of any potential agreement with McNair or Cartwright.

McNair and Cartwright are scheduled to appear in July for what will likely be a preliminary hearing.

McNair was at the Ravens' third minicamp, which began yesterday, and did not attend court. Cartwright made a brief appearance.

"It's just a delay," May said. "I still believe that if the driver's case can be resolved, Steve's case will be resolved favorably."

Asked whether he knew what the district attorney wanted to review in the case, May said, "I do not."

Ed Ryan, the lawyer for Cartwright, said there is still a standing offer to settle the case without going to court, but he declined to discuss the possible agreement. He said the district attorney wanted more time to consider it.

McNair was arrested May 9 in Nashville on a misdemeanor charge commonly referred to as DUI by consent that prohibits a vehicle owner from letting it be driven by someone who is inebriated.

Cartwright was driving McNair's Dodge pickup when police stopped it for allegedly going 45 mph in a 35-mph zone. He was charged with drunken driving after failing a field sobriety test and refusing to take a Breathalyzer test, according to police.

According to a court clerk yesterday, Cartwright's sentence for reckless driving would include two days of jail, six months of supervised probation, completion of an alcohol safety course and a $350 fine.

McNair, who is in his second season with the Ravens after playing nine years in Tennessee, has faced a similar situation in court.

In May 2003, McNair was arrested in Nashville on charges of driving under the influence and illegal gun possession. The charges were dismissed after a judge threw out the evidence, stating police did not have sufficient reason to pull him over.

McNair's current case will be heard in 40 days at the downtown courthouse, only a few blocks away from the football stadium in which McNair played most of his career. The hearing won't interfere with McNair's duties with the Ravens, who don't report to training camp until the end of July.

The unexpected delay is still frustrating, McNair's lawyer said.

"On behalf of Steve, we want this resolved," May said, "and we want to put it behind us."

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