CFL Star Player Faces DUI Charges in Georgia
Saskatchewan Roughriders defensive end Odell Willis was charged with driving under the influence in Georgia this past April. Reportedly, Willis was arrested on April 9 in the Atlanta suburb of Dunwoody. He was also charged with failing to maintain his lane.
Odell, who played college football at the University of West Georgia, has been in the CFL since 2009, joining the Roughriders earlier this year. Team officials have spoken to Willis, and according to Roughriders General Manager Brendan Taman, “Odell and the Roughrider organization are taking this matter very seriously.”
Willis and the team should take the charges seriously as Georgia has strict penalties for driving under the influence or driving while intoxicated, phrases used interchangeably in that state. In Georgia, a blood alcohol content of 0.08 percent or higher warrants a DUI charge. A driver with a BAC lower than 0.08 percent may still be charged if the officer demonstrates or observes that the individual was less safe to drive.
A first-time DUI offender in Georgia can receive a fine up to $1,000 and jail time up to 12 months, which the judge may suspend all but 24 hours of that time. Typically, the fine is between $300 and $500 and the jail time is 1 to 5 days. For a second DUI, the fine is typically between $600 and $1,000. Defendants spend a minimum of 72 hours in jail but could be sentenced up to 12 months in jail. For a third DUI conviction, the charge becomes a high and aggravated misdemeanor. Defendants pay a fine up to $5,000 and spend no less than 15 days in jail.
In all these cases, defendants are placed on probation and must complete community service and the state's Risk Reduction Program. In addition, their driving licenses are suspended. Offenders may also be required to undergo substance abuse evaluation and treatment.
Georgia, like many states, treats DUI charges as serious and dangerous matters, and therefore the penalties are harsh and often mandatory. Anyone facing these charges in Georgia should consult with an experienced attorney who can defend against the charges and fight for reduced sentences when necessary.