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Pro football fans in Missouri probably heard the news in early February that the Vikings were parting ways with veteran linebacker Erin Henderson, possibly connected to police arresting him on suspicion of DUI twice in six weeks. Henderson recently learned the formal charges he faces.

The first incident occurred at 3 a.m. on Nov. 19 in Eden Prairie after someone called the police and said that an intoxicated man had left a residence in his car. Responding officers found a man, later identified as Henderson, sitting in a parked vehicle with no lights on. Police said that they found marijuana in his possession.

Minnesota authorities have filed four charges based on that incident. Henderson faces one count of possession of greater than 1.4 grams of marijuana in a motor vehicle, one count of careless driving and two counts of fourth-degree driving while impaired. If convicted, the former Viking may face a maximum of 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine for each misdemeanor offense.

The second incident was a single-car crash that occurred on Jan. 1 in Chanhassen. Henderson faces charges of possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia, violation of a special driver's license requirement, and second- and third-degree DWI. He was scheduled to appear in Carver County court on March 3.

Impaired driving charges can have significant repercussions for someone's career. A criminal defense attorney representing a client charged with multiple misdemeanor offenses might explore the possibility of having certain charges dropped or reduced where evidence is relatively weak. In some cases, the accused may be willing to plead guilty to lesser charges in order to move forward without enduring the uncertainty of a trial.

Source: Pioneer Press, "Erin Henderson: Ex-Viking facing DWI, drug possession charges," Chris Tomasson, March 28, 2014

Source: NBC, "Erin Henderson faces four charges for first of two DUI arrests", Josh Alper, February 28, 2014

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