San Francisco 49ers linebacker Aldon Smith appeared in a California court yesterday for two of his three on-going legal cases. Aldon received some resolution from the visit.
Aldon Smith pleaded ‘no contest’ to the six separate charges against him. The six charges are for two separate incidents, one in 2012 and one in 2013. Smith will return to court July 25 for sentencing on the two separate charges.
Smith was facing three-felony weapons charges stemming from a 2012 house party in which he and former 49er teammate, current Tennessee Titan, Delaine Walker had rented. It was alleged that Smith and Walker were walking around the home firing illegal guns and rounds of ammunition in the air and near party goers in an attempt to end the party. The out-of-control party also resulted in Smith being stabbed after attempting to break up the crowd. There were additional rounds of ammunition and ammunition cartridges found at the home as well. The guns that were later found at the home, were allegedly bought while the 49ers were on a road trip in Arizona.
Smith and Walker are also named in two separate lawsuits from the two party-goers that were injured while at the party. The ‘no contest’ plea removes any civil liability, so essentially Smith cannot be sued for the damages. Smith may still face prison time as the charges could result in a range of anywhere from no time, to a possible 52 months in prison. There may also be an option for house-arrest, but the sentencing the judge sets will rest on Aldon Smith staying out of trouble.
Smith also pleaded ‘no contest’ to the DUI arrest in 2013 in which his vehicle slammed head on into a San Jose home’s front yard, with Smith being the only passenger in the car. Smith was also found to be in possession of marijuana, which is a violation of the NFL substance abuse policy. Smith missed 5 games to seek treatment for his substance abuse issues last year. Smith was also arrested in South Florida for DUI in 2012, but the charge was reduced to reckless driving.
The ‘no contest’ pleas don’t resolve the LAX bomb-threat charges from April 2014, which was scheduled for May 12, but Smith has had the court date continued to May 21. It’s possible Smith will be charged with a misdemeanor in that case.
Once all of Smith’s legal issues sort out, Smith will find out if he faces any jail or prison time for any of the cases. Besides that, Smith may also have a possible 6, or 8-game suspension, or more, waiting for him once he returns to the team. It will be interesting to see how this unfolds in the months to come.
The 49ers show they are clearly behind Aldon Smith getting his life together. The 49ers picked up Aldon Smith’s fifth-year option on his rookie contract. Aldon joins a list of other notable names from the 2011 NFL Draft, like Cam Newton, Von Miller, Patrick Peterson and J.J. Watt who have had their options picked up as well.
The option is guaranteed only for injury, so the 49ers could cut him and not face a cap penalty. A win-win for both sides should things go awry. If Aldon receives a harsh jail or prison sentence the 49ers will certainly weigh their options. But will the 49ers organization continual backing be enough for Smith to turn the corner and really change? Maybe Smith walks away with what seemingly equivocates to a slap on the wrist punishment from the legal system. It seems Aldon has had some of his past ‘wrongs’ corrected with a simple wave of the hand.
Aldon Smith is currently working out in Santa Clara with the rest of the 49ers involved in organized team activities, better known as OTA’s. These can be anything from an organized training session to recreational team activities. Hopefully Aldon is putting things into perspective, the road back to the NFL may be a long journey.