W.Va. football star Barrett takes plea bargain on DUI

March 16, 2005|by CANDICE BOSELY

MARTINSBURG, W.VA. - After accepting a plea bargain Tuesday in which he pleaded no contest to a charge of driving under the influence and in which a charge of simple possession of marijuana was dismissed, former Martinsburg High School football standout Brandon Barrett said he was sorry for his actions.

"I'd just like to apologize to my family and the university for this mistake," Barrett, 20, said after the hearing. "I would just like to move on, continue going to school and put this behind me."

Barrett, who is a second-semester freshman at West Virginia University, said he expects to play football for the Mountaineers in the upcoming season, likely as a wide receiver.


Barrett was in Berkeley County Magistrate Court Tuesday afternoon for a hearing that lasted less than 10 minutes.

He signed several papers but did not say anything during the hearing, held before Magistrate Harry Snow.

A no-contest plea means a defendant is not admitting guilt, but will not offer any defense.

Although the exact terms of the plea bargain were not announced during the hearing, immediately afterward, Assistant Prosecutor Stephanie Poling outlined the agreement.

Plea, sentence

Barrett pleaded no contest to a charge of first-offense DUI and was ordered to serve 24 hours in jail, which is typical for such an offense, Poling said.

He also must pay a $100 fine, $123.50 in court costs and a $75 DUI fee, all to be paid within 90 days, Snow said.

Barrett is scheduled to begin serving the remainder of his jail sentence at 6 a.m. today. He already has served six hours in Eastern Regional Jail, accrued after his arrest last October.

As part of the plea bargain, a charge of possession of less than 15 grams of marijuana was dismissed.

"Once it became apparent that Brandon's academic and athletic future were not going to be further impacted by this unfortunate incident, it became he and his family's desire for prompt closure," said Barrett's attorney, Harley Wagner.

He said Barrett will not lose his scholarship.

"It's important that people know that this is a good young man from a good family with a bright future, who, like many teenagers across this country, made a mistake," Wagner said.

Barrett was charged after Martinsburg Police Department Patrolman W.A. Parks stopped Barrett's car near the intersection of Wilson and Raleigh streets at 3:23 a.m. on Oct. 16, 2004.

The car had gone up onto a curb while making a turn, and swerved from side to side in the road, according to court documents.

Barrett "was extremely lethargic" while looking for his driver's license, car registration and proof of insurance, records state.

"He was very unsteady while exiting the vehicle, holding onto the car to steady himself," Parks wrote in his criminal complaint. "While walking to the rear of the vehicle, Mr. Barrett was staggering."

Barrett, whose breath smelled of alcohol, failed three field sobriety tests and a preliminary breath test, but refused to submit to an Intoxilyzer test, records state.

During a pat-down search, Parks found 3 grams of marijuana in a small plastic bag in Barrett's left shoe, records allege.

Barrett twice was named West Virginia's Gatorade Player of the Year and was one of six wide receivers named to the Parade All-America team.

For two years in a row he was named the state's Kennedy Award winner, the highest honor a high school football player can receive.

His photograph and a brief biography appeared in Sports Illustrated in the magazine's "Faces in the Crowd" section.

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