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Thursday, January 5, 2012
Miguel Cabrera pleads no contest

Associated Press

FORT PIERCE, Fla. -- Detroit Tigers star Miguel Cabrera pleaded no contest Thursday in Florida to drunken driving.

Cabrera accepted a deal that spares him jail time. Charges of resisting an officer without violence and having an open container in a vehicle were dropped. The first baseman was arrested in Fort Pierce in February after refusing to take a field sobriety test.

Cabrera
Cabrera

"Miguel Cabrera is determined not to allow this to go on any further," said his attorney, Michael Kessler. "He wants this behind him before the start of spring training. For that reason, and for that reason only, Miguel Cabrera asked me to settle this case today."

Cabrera received a year of probation but will be eligible for early termination after six months. His license will be suspended for six months, and he must pay more than $1,400 in fines. He also must attend DUI school and go to a victim-impact panel.

Kessler said the player had been planning to fight the DUI charge, but St. Lucie County prosecutors were causing delays in the case. He says it appeared the case was going to drag into baseball season and the player wanted to put it all behind him.

"Miguel Cabrera and I have great faith in the justice and fairness of the court system," Kessler said. "His name and reputation are important to me. Together, we intended to take all available steps to clear his name."

With a trial set to start Monday, Kessler said prosecutors gave him an additional 100 pages of discovery materials on Thursday, meaning he would have had to ask for a continuance. Kessler said he wasn't sure why he hadn't been given the documents earlier.

An after-hours message seeking comment from the state attorney's office in St. Lucie County was not immediately returned Thursday.

In July, Kessler said having a DUI conviction could prevent Cabrera from traveling to Canada for games, unless he gets express permission from Canadian officials. Kessler said Thursday that Cabrera will still have to deal with that issue.