Cleveland Browns linebacker Armonty Bryant (drug possession) and practice squad player De’Ante Saunders (OVI) arrested
On Christmas day, Cleveland Browns practice squad player De’Ante Saunders and linebacker Armonty Bryant were arrested after a traffic stop along I-71 near Brook Park around 2:15 in the morning. Saunders was driving 75 mph in a marked 60 mph zone. Saunders was placed under arrest for operating a vehicle while impaired and speeding. Ohio State Troopers say Saunders refused to submit to any chemical testing of his breath, and as such, his driver’s license will be suspended for a year. Saunders could face additional criminal charges, as a concealed firearm was located – Saunders did not have a permit to have the firearm.
During the stop, troopers also searched passenger Armonty Bryant and found that he possessed the prescription drug Adderall. Bryant was unable to produce a valid prescription for the Adderall.
Operating a Vehicle While Impaired (OVI)/ Driving Under the Influence (DUI)
In Florida, there are dual theories of prosecution for DUI:
1. driving or in actual physical control of a vehicle within this state;
2. while under the influence of alcohol or a chemical or controlledsubstance;
3. to the extent that his normal faculties were impaired
4. with a blood alcohol level of 0.08 or more grams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood or a breath alcohol level of .08 or more grams of alcohol per 210 liters of breath
Actual Physical ControlActual Physical Control (APC) “means the defendant must be physically in or on the vehicle and have the capability to operate the vehicle, regardless of whether or not he is actually operating the vehicle at the time.” A vehicle is any device, in, upon, or by which any person or property is, or may be, transported or drawn upon a highway except devices used exclusively upon stationary rails or tracks. See Fla. Stat. § 316.003(75). Any amount of alcohol may cause a defendant to be under the influence and affect his normal faculties. Normal Faculties include, but are not limited to, the ability to see, hear, walk, talk, judge distances, drive an automobile, make judgments, act in emergencies, and, in general, normally perform the many mental and physical acts of daily lives. See Fla. Stat. § 316.1934(1).
Depending on one’s driving history, the penalties for a DUI vary as follows:
First DUI Conviction:
- Fine: Not less than $500, or more than $1,000. With Blood/Breath Alcohol Level (BAL) of .15 or higher or minor in the vehicle not less than $1,000, or more than $2,000;
- Jail: Not more than 6 months. With Blood/Breath Alcohol Level (BAL) of .15 or higher or minor in the vehicle not more than 9 months;
- Probation: Total period of probation and incarceration may not exceed 1 year;
- Mandatory 50 hours of community service or additional $10 fine for each hour of community service required;
- Vehicle impoundment for 10 days (unless family of the defendant has no other transportation)
- Minimum 6 months license revocation; maximum of 1 year;
- Increasing cost of insurance as you will be required to purchase 100/300 coverage
Second DUI Conviction (within 5 years):
- Fine: Not less than $1,000, or more than $2,000. With Blood/Breath Alcohol Level (BAL) of .15 or higher or minor in the vehicle: Not less than $2,000, or more than $4,000;
- Jail: Not more than 9 months. With BAL of .15 or higher or minor in the vehicle: Not more than 12 months. If second conviction within 5 years, mandatory imprisonment of at least 10 days. At least 48 hours of confinement must be consecutive;
- Vehicle impoundment for 30 days (unless family of the defendant has no other transportation)
- License revocation: Minimum 5 years revocation. Maximum lifetime revocation. May be eligible for hardship reinstatement after 1 year.
Third DUI Conviction:
- Fine: (More than 10 years from second): Not less than $2,000, or more than $5,000. With BAL of .15 or higher or minor in the vehicle: Not less than $4,000;
- Jail: If third conviction within 10 years, mandatory imprisonment of at least 30 days. At least 48 hours of confinement must be consecutive. If third conviction more than 10 years, imprisonment for not more than 12 months. Minimum sentence of 30 days if convicted within 10 years of a first offense
- Vehicle impoundment for 90 days if convicted within 10 years of a first offense;
- License revocation: Within 10 Years of the second conviction: minimum 10 years revocation. May be eligible for a hardship reinstatement after two years
Fourth DUI Conviction:
- Third Degree Felony Charge
- Minimum fine of no less than $2,000;
- Up to 5 years State prison;
- Mandatory permanent license revocation;
- No hardship reinstatement.
Conditions for Release of Persons Arrested for DUIs. (Florida Statute 316.193 (9)):
- The person is no longer under the influence;
- The person’s normal faculties are no longer impaired;
- The person’s blood/breath alcohol level is lower than 0.05; or
- Eight hours have elapsed from the time the person was arrested.
In lieu of a driving under the influence (DUI) charge, the state of Ohio uses the term “OVI” for the charge of operating a vehicle under the influence. A first time conviction for OVI can include mandatory jail time, fines, and a license suspension of up to three years. The penalties in Ohio are outlined below:
|First Offense – Low Test||First Offense – High Test||First Offense Refusal|
|Driving Privileges||Not eligible for driving privileges until 15 days from the date of the offense (administrative license suspension).||Not eligible for driving privileges until 15 days from the date of the offense (administrative license suspension)||Not eligible for driving privileges until 30 days from the date of the offense (administrative license suspension).|
|Yellow Plates||Not mandatory||Mandatory||Not mandatory|
|Ignition Interlock||Optional at judge’s discretion||Optional at judge’s discretion||Optional at judge’s discretion|
A “low test” OVI is one in which a breath alcohol level test is .169 or below, a urine test is .237 or below, a whole blood test is .169 or below, and a blood serum or plasma test is .203 or below. Anything above these numbers is considered a “high test” OVI. A unique penalty for committing an OVI in Ohio is that a person may be required to have yellow license license plates on their vehicle.
Florida Statute 893.13 outlines the penalties one would face if charged with the possession of a controlled substance (adderall, cocaine, MDMA/ecstasy, heroin, etc…). In Florida, Bryant would be facing a third degree felony; the penalties for a third degree felony are up to 5 years in Florida State Prison, a suspension of his driver’s license for one year (or until the person is evaluated for and, if deemed necessary by the evaluating agency, completes a drug treatment and rehabilitation program approved or regulated by the Department of Children and Families), and a fine of up to $5,000.
Ohio Rev. Code § 2925.11 outlines the penalties one would face if charged with possession of controlled substance. The statute allows, depending on the substance, for a charge to range from misdemeanor of the first degree or felony of the fifth, fourth, third, second or first degree; this depends on the type and amount of drug, and whether the offense occurred near minors or school property. As an amphetamine, Adderall qualifies as a Schedule II drug, and due to the amount of pill(s) Bryant was found with, it would qualify as a Fifth Degree felony. The penalties would be a fine of up to $2,500 and a jail sentence between six and 12 months. Based upon the initial information provided by the Ohio State Troopers, I cannot see why Bryant was searched – I do believe that he should be formally charged due to an improper search. Bryant may be the case, but he will still have to deal with penalties from both the Cleveland Browns organization and the NFL.
If you have any questions about a drug possession charge or operating a vehicle while impaired (OVI) or driving under the influence (DUI) please feel free to contact Miami Criminal Defense Attorney Adam K. Goodman, managing partner of the Law Office of Adam K. Goodman, PLLC, at 305-482-3265. For more information, please see us online at www.adamgoodmanlaw.com.