NBA Star Ty Lawson Fails 3 Alcohol Tests, Violates Probation

By Paul Gaita 03/14/17

Last year, the Sacramento Kings point guard was ordered to steer clear of alcohol and marijuana per the terms of his probation.

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Ty Lawson
Ty Lawson Photo via YouTube

NBA star Ty Lawson must appear in a Denver, Colorado court after testing positive for alcohol on three occasions, which constitutes a violation of the terms of his probation for multiple counts of driving under the influence in 2015.  

Denver County court records show that the Sacramento Kings point guard was being supervised in California when he tested positive for alcohol on September 27 and 29 and February 2; he also reportedly failed to complete 48 hours of community service as part of his probation, though Lawson's attorney, Harvey Steinberg, said that he had completed that portion of his sentence. Lawson is scheduled to appear for a probation violation revocation hearing in Denver County on March 22.

Lawson was completing his sixth season as a point guard with the Denver Nuggets when he was arrested in January 2015 on suspicion of drinking and driving. He refused to submit to a chemical test and was taken to a detention center.

Seven months later, after Lawson was traded to the Houston Rockets, he was arrested again in Los Angeles on suspicion of driving under the influence in July 2015. In November of that year, Lawson accepted a plea deal in which he pleaded guilty to driving while his ability was impaired, and to a lane usage violation. In exchange, three charges, including the DUI, were dismissed, and sentencing was set for March 2016, where he faced a possible 180 days in jail.  

As a result of the plea in the January case and the July charge, the National Basketball Association (NBA) suspended Lawson for a total of five games shortly before the Rockets waived his contract in a buyout agreement.

Lawson signed with the Indiana Pacers in March 2016, the same month he received his probation sentence from Judge Olympia Z. Fay in Denver. "You have a terrible history," Fay noted as she ordered him to a year of probation for the January case. "You are going down a bad path."

Lawson was ordered to abstain from alcohol and marijuana, complete the aforementioned community service and 52 hours of therapy, and submit to recurring sobriety checks. Lawson appeared to adhere to his probation requirements for the next few months, during which he signed with the Sacramento Kings, before failing the September tests.

Lawson will again face Judge Fay on the March court date, during which he will be required to "show cause" that his probation should not be revoked and that he has not violated the conditions. He can also admit to the violation and plead to the judge that he deserves another chance, though Judge Fay can easily reject such a request on the grounds of the requirements set down by the probation.

And, as Sports Illustrated noted, both the NBA and the Kings organization are most likely monitoring the outcome of this court date, and may consider imposing penalties of their own.

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Paul Gaita lives in Los Angeles. He has contributed to the Los Angeles Times, Variety, LA Weekly, Amazon.com and The Los Angeles Beat, among many other publications and websites. 

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