Niners’ Smith won’t face criminal charges over airport arrest
Aldon Smith’s uncertain legal fate won’t be compounded by criminal charges related to the 49ers linebacker’s April arrest on suspicion of making a fake bomb threat at Los Angeles International Airport.
The Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office announced Tuesday that it will not file charges against Smith, though it reserves the right to reverse course by April 13, 2015, the one-year anniversary of Smith’s arrest.
Smith, a 24-year-old pass-rushing star, instead is scheduled to have a July 30 hearing with the City Attorney’s Office to address the LAX matter and suggest ways on avoiding similar incidents, according to Frank Mateljan of the City Attorney’s office.
“Involved parties are scheduled to attend and give their account of the incident,” Mateljan wrote in an e-mail. “The individuals are then admonished about the applicable laws and given suggestions on how to avoid similar incidents in the future.”
Neither Smith nor his attorney, Josh Bentley, could immediately be reached for comment.
Smith is scheduled to be sentenced July 25 in Santa Clara Superior Court after pleading no contest May 21 to three counts of felony weapon possession and misdemeanor drunken driving charges.
Prosecutors declined to comment Tuesday on the decision by the Los Angeles County City Attorney’s Office. But they said that the outcome of that case will not affect what sentence they ask the judge to impose on Smith for the entirely separate gun and DUI charges.
Judge Daniel Nishigaya of Santa Clara County Superior Court will be under pressure to treat Smith like any other defendant in the same circumstances—not any more leniently but also not any more harshly because he is a celebrity.
Many defendants who are convicted of misdemeanor DUI for the first time and have no prior criminal record get the following in Santa Clara County: about five days of weekend work, typically picking up garbage off the side of a freeway; mandatory DUI classes; and probation, including the condition that they cannot drive with any measurable amount of alcohol in their blood, even if they are not drunk.
Smith also faces a maximum sentence of four years and four months in jail for three felony counts of possessing assault rifles he apparently bought in Arizona, where they are legal. But it would not be unusual given his lack of a criminal record and where he purchased them if the judge knocked them down to misdemeanors, imposed a shorter, suspended jail sentence and put him on probation, as well as assigned him more weekend work. Smith was arrested in Miami once on suspicion of drunken driving, but the incident was knocked down to an infraction.
Smith also could be facing discipline from the NFL for his off-field incidents. He’s allowed to report to training camp when 49ers report July 23.
After concluding the 49ers’ offseason program last month, Smith told this newspaper of his immediate future: “I don’t know what’s going to happen. I’m going to enjoy my month. I’ll work out and stay here.”
Smith missed five games last season while voluntarily seeking substance-abuse treatment after his single-car, drunken-driving accident in San Jose on Sept. 20.