Raiders wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey passed on attending his own arraignment on DUI charges Thursday, having his attorney plead not guilty on his behalf in a San Francisco courtroom.
Attorney Ivan Golde told the media after the hearing that the 25-year-old football star has no prior convictions and that the misdemeanor DUI arrest on the Bay Bridge last month was his first.
“Not that that’s something to be proud of, but this is a good guy,” Golde said of his client. “This was an unfortunate incident, and Darrius will do whatever it takes to put this behind him and go forward.”
Those charged with misdemeanors can have their attorneys appear on their behalf during arraignments, said Stephanie Ong Stillman, a spokeswoman for the District Attorney’s Office.
However, Judge Donna Little on Thursday ordered Heyward-Bey to appear at his next hearing, a pretrial conference scheduled for June 28, in the event that a plea deal is struck.
Heyward-Bey was driving his 2012 Range Rover near Treasure Island about 2 a.m. April 7 when he was stopped by the California Highway Patrol, Officer Tony Tam said. He was given field sobriety tests, which he failed, Tam said. Heyward-Bey reportedly had a blood-alcohol content of 0.13 following a chemical test; about a half-hour after he was pulled over, a breath test registered at 0.12, prosecutors said Thursday. The legal limit in California is 0.08.
Heyward-Bey faces two misdemeanor drunken driving charges, Stillman said, which could pack a sentence of up to six months in jail.
Authorities have said the wide receiver was cooperative with cops.
In 2009, Heyward-Bey was a surprise first-round draft pick, No. 7, and signed a five-year contract with Oakland worth $38 million. He played for the University of Maryland in college, where he led the team in receptions each of his last three seasons, according to ESPN.com.
As a first-round draft pick, Heyward-Bey has had his share of criticism over his performance with the Raiders, but his stats have risen steadily the past three seasons.
Bay City News contributed to this report.