Thursday, June 28, 2012
James Wilder Jr. accepts plea deal
By David M. Hale NoleNation
Florida State running back James Wilder Jr. admitted to violating the terms of his probation during a plea hearing Thursday and agreed to serve three additional days in jail to complete his sentence.
In order to avoid further jail time while awaiting a hearing, Wilder accepted a plea deal that included 11 days in jail -- eight of which he already has served.
"While we'd liked to have disputed it, he doesn't have the luxury to sit in the Leon County Jail," Tim Jansen, Wilder's attorney, said.
Wilder originally was charged with felony assault in February, but he pleaded no contest to a lesser charge in April and was sentenced to six months' probation, time in work camp, and was ordered to complete five days of anger-management classes.
A Breathalyzer test before one of his scheduled work-camp days earlier this month, however, revealed a blood-alcohol content of 0.01, which resulted in a warrant being issued for his arrest.
The rising sophomore turned himself in Friday at the Leon County Jail.
Jansen said he believed Wilder would have been found not guilty of the violation, but waiting for a hearing might have meant another 30 days in jail for Wilder and likely would jeopardize his chances of playing football this season.
"We obviously feel he didn't violate the probation because we felt the .01 was within the margin of error," Jansen said. "Under the circumstances, he accepted the violation to get out so he could get back to school. It was in his best interest to resolve it."
Wilder is expected to be released from prison at 12:01 a.m. ET Sunday, Jansen said. Wilder also will pay a fine, complete two more anger-management classes and complete his original probation, which will last until Oct. 4.
Prosecutors originally said Wilder had failed to complete any of his anger-management courses, but Jansen said his client had simply failed to sign up within the court-mandated 30-day period, but indeed had completed three classes -- with two more remaining to complete his probation.
"I can assure you, he will get those done," Jansen said.
Jansen said he has kept Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher apprised of the situation. A school spokesman said there was no comment at this time.
Wilder rushed for 161 yards on 35 carries last season and figures to be in the mix for additional playing time this season.