Pittsburgh, PA- Just so you know, being ignorant of a law you’re breaking doesn’t excuse you from the legal consequences. That’s what Steelers’ Le’Veon Bell learned this weekend after he and teammate LeGarrette Blount were hit with marijuana charges after they were stopped heading to the airport to head to a game.
Last Wednesday, Bell and Blount, along with a female passenger, Mercedes Dollson, were stopped after an officer smelled a strong odor of marijuana emanating from a black Camaro stopped at a traffic signal, according to WXPI.
At first Bell denied having any marijuana in his possession even though his eyes were “red and glassy,” according to the criminal complaint. The officer continued to press Bell and he initially said he had smoked “a minute ago.” Eventually, the trio admitted to having a bag a marijuana stashed in the glove box.
The three were not arrested but were given summonses to appear in court—being a Steeler obviously has its benefits.
Dollson and Blount both were charged with possessing less than 30 grams of marijuana and Bell was charged with driving under the influence—yet another DUI for a NFL player— a charge he seemed surprised by.
According to WXIA, Bell told the officer, “I didn’t know you could get a DUI for being high. I smoked two hours ago. I’m not high anymore. I’m perfectly fine. Why would I be getting high if I had to make it to my game?”
The officer didn’t believe Bell was able to drive safely so he was taken to a local hospital for blood test, the results of which have been passed on to county prosecutors.
Even after their arrest, Bell and Blount headed to their destination and were on the field the next day or a pre-season game.
Steelers manager, Mike Tomlin, told USA Today, he saw no reason to punish the Bell and Blount by taking them out of the game, but acknowledged something would have to be done about the matter in the future.
“I didn’t view it as a punishment to send them home … to not play in a preseason game. I’d rather them play more than anticipated than to remove them from the game,” Tomlin told USA Today.
Just to be clear, driving under the influence of any drugs, whether it is marijuana or the drug is a prescription is illegal in any state. In regards to marijuana intoxication, Pennsylvania’s marijuana DUI laws can be complicated.
In the state, it is illegal to drive with any drugs in your system whether it is a prescription or marijuana. A person can be charged with marijuana DUI if metabolites of the drug are in a person’s system, regardless of how much time has passed since they last smoked. But prosecutors must prove a driver is impaired to secure a conviction, this when the expertise of a DUI attorney will come in handy, since they can build a defense to show their client wasn’t intoxicated at the time of their arrest.