Saturday, June 7, 2008

Former UT Running Back Cedric Benson Arrested in Austin... Again

Former University of Texas running back Cedric Benson was arrested in Austin last night and charged with driving while intoxicated (DUI/DWI) - a violation of Texas Penal Code § 49.04. His arrest comes one month after being charged with boating while intoxicated on Lake Travis and resisting arrest.

Benson was pulled over between 3 o'clock and 4 o'clock in the morning Saturday after allegedly running a red light at Fifth Street and Colorado Street - just blocks from downtown Austin's popular Sixth Street bar scene. Austin police purportedly smelled alcohol on Benson's breath and requested that he submit to a series of field sobriety tests, including a walk and turn test and a request to stand on one leg. The field officer believed Benson performed poorly on the field sobriety tests and requested that Benson submit to a breathalyzer. Benson wisely refused the test as well as subsequent requests for a blood sample. It also appears Benson immediately invoked his right to counsel and refused to speak to police without his Austin criminal defense attorney.

Benson's Austin criminal defense lawyer maintains that his client performed well on the field sobriety test and that the police lacked the probable cause required to arrest a person on suspicion of DUI/DWI. His criminal defense lawyer is also likely to attack the reasonable suspicion giving rise to the stop itself as Benson maintains that the light was yellow when he entered the intersection. Benson's criminal defense lawyer also claims that Benson was on his way home from a dinner at Kenichi where he had two or three drinks over the course of several hours. If true, one would presume Benson would have been sober at the time of his police encounter. The prosecution will likely challenge Benson's story and question his whereabout during the early Saturday morning hours as Kenichi's website list its Friday hours as 5:30 - 11:00 p.m.

The Chicago Bears, Benson's current NFL team, have publicly responded to his latest arrest with great dismay and frustration. Many sports bloggers are calling for the Bears to release Benson.

Those looking to follow the case can track upcoming hearings on the Travis County Criminal Courts docket here. The docket currently only reflects Benson's boating charge, but should be updated soon.

UPDATE: The Chicago Bears have officially released Cedric Benson.

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