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Second Dallas Cowboys player charged with DWI

The death of Dallas Cowboys practice squad member Jerry Brown was a stark and humbling reminder of the dangers of drinking and driving. Less than two months later another Cowboys player has been arrested on suspicion of drunk driving. Defensive tackle Jay Ratliff was taken into custody after he was involved in an accident.

According to a USA Today report, Ratliff allegedly crashed into a semi truck in Grapevine, Texas, only miles from where the previous accident involving Cowboys players resulted in tragedy. Fortunately, no one was hurt in this accident.

Police officers report that Ratliff showed classic indications of intoxication (e.g. smelling of alcohol, slurred speech) at the scene. Officers also say that he failed a field sobriety test, which led to his arrest. He reportedly refused a breathalyzer test, so his BAC is unknown.

The story has two compelling components. From a legal standpoint, it remains to be seen whether he will be charged with refusing a chemical test. No information was furnished indicating whether he opted for a blood test in lieu of a breath test (a right granted by state law). If he in fact refused to provide a sample, he could have his driver's license suspended for up to one year. However, police could obtain a search warrant for a mandatory blood draw.

From a public relations standpoint, it is another black eye for the Cowboys. Josh Brent was indicted less than one month ago on charges of intoxication manslaughter stemming from the December accident that killed his friend. Moreover, it calls into question players' willingness to use limo services provided by the Cowboys.

Nevertheless, refusing a chemical test can have serious legal consequences. It is best to contact a lawyer to discuss your rights and options.

Source: USA Today.com, Cowboys Jay Ratliff charged with DWI after car accident, January 22, 2013

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