The National Football League (NFL) is no stranger when it comes to domestic violence. The professional football association has been plagued with incidents of alleged violence by players, and faced a backlash by what has been seen as a soft handed approach when it comes to penalties. Largely in response to the public outcry, the NFL changed their personal conduct policy to come down harder on those charged with domestic violence. Despite the changes, players still find themselves on the wrong side of the law in domestic disputes.
Ray McDonald is one of the latest to be criminally charged with domestic violence following a May incident in Santa Clara, California. Prosecutors have now charged McDonald with domestic violence, child endangerment, violating a court order, and felony false imprisonment. McDonald did not enter a plea during his arraignment, but if convicted, he could face up to 3 years in prison.
The charges against the former San Francisco 49ers defensive tackle stem from an alleged domestic disturbance in the early morning hours of May 25th. McDonald allegedly broke into a woman's bedroom, and assaulted her while she was holding a baby. The police arrived after McDonald had fled, but later caught up with him and arrested him. He was again arrested days later for showing up at the apartment in violation of a protective order.
McDonald had prior run-ins with the law. Last August, he was arrested on suspicion of domestic violence, which was never prosecuted. In December he was arrested for sexual assault, which is now the subject of a defamation suit filed by McDonald. After these prior arrests, the 49ers dropped McDonald from the team. The Chicago Bears picked him up, based on giving him a second chance. But after the latest incidents, he was also dropped from the Bears.
Since McDonald is no longer part of any NFL team, he won't be subject to discipline under the league's enhanced domestic violence policy. The new policy calls for a minimum six game suspension for a first offense, and a lifetime ban for repeated offenses. Minimum penalties could also be expanded in specific cases, including incidents involving: choking; a weapon; repeated striking; violence against a pregnant woman or in the presence of a child; or with a pre-NFL offense.
Prior to the policy changes, there were no minimum mandatory suspensions or penalties for allegations of domestic violence. In one example, Dallas Cowboy Greg Hardy will be suspended for four games in the upcoming season after an incident of domestic violence. In comparison, Tom Brady will receive the same disciplinary action for his alleged role in underinflating footballs.
At the Gorelick Law Offices, attorney Lynn Gorelick has dedicated her legal career to defending people facing charges of domestic violence or violating a protective order in the East Bay. With more than 30 years of experience, Lynn Gorelick understands the local domestic violence laws, and will make sure you get the justice you deserve. Contact the local East Bay DUI defense attorney who understands that you do not have to plead guilty just because you were arrested