NFL fans in Ohio and around the country who watched the recent NFC Championship Game may have seen cornerback P.J. Williams record seven tackles and break up one pass as his New Orleans Saints were narrowly beaten by the Los Angeles Rams. Williams is scheduled to become a free agent if he does not sign a new deal in New Orleans, but his prospects of a lucrative contract were dealt a blow in the early morning hours of Jan. 23 when he was taken into custody on drunk driving charges.
According to the New Orleans Police Department, Williams was observed by officers exceeding the posted speed limit by 35 mph and driving erratically on Camp Street near Andrew Higgins Boulevard at about 1:10 a.m. Officers asked Williams to submit to a breath test after pulling his vehicle over, but the athlete is said to have refused to comply. He now faces the prospect of drunk driving charges and a mandatory driver’s license suspension.
The incident does not mark the first time that Williams has been accused of getting behind the wheel drunk. In April 2015, Williams was arrested in Florida for driving under the influence shortly after graduating from Florida State University, but prosecutors later dropped the case. In 2014, he escaped with just a traffic citation after fleeing the scene of a serious accident.
Professional athletes, celebrities and individuals who drive for a living often pay a particularly heavy price for driving under the influence, and their loss of income may dwarf any financial sanctions handed down by the courts. This is the kind of mitigating factor that experienced criminal defense attorneys point out during plea negotiations to encourage prosecutors to consider a more lenient approach.
Source: NBC Sports, “Saints’ P.J. Williams arrested for drunk driving again”, Michael Smith, Jan. 23, 2019