MOBILE, Ala. -- An attorney for Detroit Lions defensive tackle Nick Fairley asked a judge Wednesday to approve a pre-trial diversion program instead of putting the player on trial facing charges of drunken-driving and fleeing police.
Fairley was charged with driving under the influence and attempting to elude police following a May 27 arrest. His Mobile County District Court trial was set to start Wednesday morning, but attorney Sid Harrell instead filed paperwork requesting Fairley attend an anti-DUI course after stipulating to a first-time DUI.
Fairley faces a six-month suspended jail term, a year on probation and a $600 fine if his request to attend the pre-trial diversion program is denied. Prosecutors could argue against the request, but Harrell said such programs are common for first-offenders.
"He will have to live up to that agreement and attend the program," Harrell said. He said a judge will have to review the request and hold a hearing.
Fairley, who was not in court, practiced with the Lions in Allen Park, Mich., on Wednesday morning. He declined comment about the case.
Fairley and the Lions (1-2) are preparing for a game against the Minnesota Vikings (2-1) on Sunday.
"I'm glad to be out there on the field," Fairley said.
He might not be able to stay on the field for the rest of the season.
Even if the case is delayed, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has made it clear he can discipline Fairley for his pattern of behaviour before he has due process in court. Fairley insisted he isn't anxious about receiving a letter from the league informing him of a suspension that he's expected to get at some point.
"I'm just coming in every day, working hard and not really just thinking about it," he said.
Harrell said he expected a hearing on the request for the pre-trial diversion program to be scheduled sometime in the next two months. He said he expected the hearing to be arranged to accommodate his client's NFL schedule.
Fairley was a 2011 first-round pick after helping lead Auburn to a national title. He was arrested after a state trooper said he was travelling at 100 mph in his Cadillac Escalade and initially didn't pull over. He also faces a misdemeanour marijuana possession charge Nov. 27 in his hometown of Mobile.
Harrell said expected the marijuana charge to be dropped once Fairley completes the diversion program.
"He is already drug tested every week by the NFL," Harrell said