NEW YORK (AP) — Tennessee Titans backup quarterback Chris Simms will fight to clear himself and defend his rights and reputation after being charged with driving while high on marijuana, one of his lawyers said Tuesday.
Simms appeared briefly in a Manhattan court Tuesday, leaving with a May 2 trial date. He had previously rejected what prosecutors said was a last-chance plea deal, but his lead attorney wasn't available to start a trial this week.
"Mr. Simms is going to fight for his innocence, and his civil liberties, and his good name," said another of his lawyers, Kim Richman, declining to elaborate as the two left court. Simms, a son of former New York Giants quarterback Phil Simms, exchanged greetings with reporters but didn't comment on the case.
Chris Simms, 30, was pulled over at a police sobriety checkpoint July 1 after officers said he'd made an erratic turn. A "zombie"-like Simms then said he'd been smoking marijuana in the car, an officer testified at a hearing this fall.
Simms has denied saying that. He wasn't tested for drugs. Alcohol tests came back negative.
His lawyers have challenged the legality of the checkpoint and the basis for his arrest. A judge ruled that the arrest was justified and Simms' statements were obtained legally, but his lawyers could still seek to raise questions at a trial about his statements and arrest.
The most serious charge against Simms, driving while impaired by drugs, is a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail.
Under the plea deal he turned down, he would have been spared jail and sentenced to a $500 fine, five days of community service and a 90-day driver's license suspension.
Besides the legal consequences, a conviction or any guilty plea that entailed admitting to smoking marijuana could net Simms a suspension under NFL policies.
Simms, who started his career with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2003, has a 7-9 record in 16 NFL career starts. He ruptured his spleen in a 2006 Tampa Bay game against the Carolina Panthers.
He went to Tennessee in 2008, played for the Denver Broncos in 2009 and then returned to the Titans. He didn't play in any games this season.
Simms' father played 14 seasons with the Giants, leading them to two Super Bowls. He is now a CBS Sports announcer and analyst.
March 01, 2011