Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch has entered a not guilty plea following his arrest for investigation of driving under the influence in Northern California.
Lynch's attorney, Ivan Golde, entered the plea on Lynch's behalf in Alameda County Superior Court on Wednesday. Lynch's arraignment was originally schedule for mid-August, but Golde said he moved up the initial court hearing in order to get more access to the evidence.
"We want to get going on the case right away," Golde said in a phone interview on Thursday. "This allows me to get all the documents I need."
Golde said he believes that unless the case is dismissed, it will not go to trial until after the 2012 NFL season is over. That doesn't completely erase the chance of Lynch facing punishment from the NFL, but the lack of resolution in the case may delay the league's decision.
Golde said there may be a few hearings during the fall associated with the case, but Lynch would not need to be present.
The Seahawks begin training camp on Saturday.
Lynch was arrested early on July 14 after the California Highway Patrol reported seeing Lynch weaving on Interstate 880 in the Oakland, Calif., area. An incident report released by CHP described Lynch driving a Ford Econoline van and having two near collisions with two other vehicles driving in adjacent lanes.
Lynch was charged with two counts in Alameda County, Calif.: driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol and driving while having a blood-alcohol level of .08 or higher. Golde said Lynch blew a .08 during a preliminary screening at the scene shortly after he was pulled over and registered slightly higher when tested at the jail on a calibrated breathalyzer machine. Golde said he believes Lynch was actually under .08 when he was pulled over and had a rising blood-alcohol level.
Lynch, who joined the Seahawks via trade during the 2010 season, issued an apology last week.
"I want to apologize to my family, the Seattle Seahawks, the NFL and the 12th Man for the negative attention resulting from my recent actions," Lynch said in a statement released by the team. "This is not the type of community leader I have been over the last two years or the one I'm striving to become. I want to assure everyone that I will work to be better and look forward to a very exciting, and very successful season with the Seattle Seahawks."
Lynch had a pair of off-field run-ins while with Buffalo, the second of which — a guilty plea in March 2009 to a misdemeanour gun charge in Los Angeles — resulted in Lynch receiving a three-game suspension for violating the NFL personal conduct policy.