Former NHL star Ray Bourque gets probation for DUI

From Sports Illustrated:

Hockey Hall of Famer Ray Bourque was sentenced to one year of probation on Wednesday after entering an “admission to sufficient facts” plea to a charge of drunk driving.

The former Boston Bruins star also was handed a 45-day suspension of his driver’s license in addition to a mandatory 180-day suspension for refusing to take a breathalyzer test on scene. He must attend drug and alcohol education classes as well.

The sentence falls in line with state standards for first offenses.

Admission to sufficient facts is not the same as an admission of guilt, but it is tantamount to admitting that the prosecution has sufficient evidence to obtain a guilty verdict. SI.com legal expert Michael McCann says there were at least three main advantages for Bourque in pleading this way.

“Bourque avoids a guilty plea or a guilty verdict, which is important in terms of avoiding a criminal record with a guilty plea or verdict on it,” he said. “Avoiding a guilty plea/verdict is similarly valuable for Bourque in terms mitigating any adverse consequences to Bourque’s insurance policies and limiting impact on his ability to travel to and from other countries.
“Bourque’s case is now continued without a guilty finding, which would impose a more severe punishment than what Bourque now faces. [And] assuming that Bourque complies with the judge’s instructions, the judge will dismiss the case around this time next year.”

According to the police report, Bourque was arrested at 11:30 pm on June 24 after he rear-ended a mini-van with his Mercedes-Benz. Authorities say Bourque admitted on scene to “having a few drinks.” A test administered later revealed his blood alcohol level was .249, more than three times the legal limit.

Bourque pleaded not guilty in his first court appearance last week, but changed his plea on Wednesday.

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