Sheldon Richardson avoided jail time after entering a guilty plea Tuesday to reduced charges stemming from his July 2015 arrest after a high-speed chase with police in suburban St. Louis.
The Jets defensive tackle had been facing five misdemeanor charges — including resisting arrest, which carried a sentence of up to a year in jail — after he was arrested for driving up to 143 mph on a Missouri interstate highway last offseason.
Richardson, 25, pleaded guilty in a St. Charles County courtroom to resisting arrest, speeding and running a red light, as part of his deal with the prosecution. The judge sentenced him to two years of bench probation, 100 hours of community service and fined him $1,050, Richardson’s attorney, Scott Rosenblum, told Newsday in a phone interview.
Because Richardson received a suspended sentence, the resisting arrest charge will be wiped from his record upon completion of probation and his file will be closed, his attorney said.
“It was real positive,” Rosenblum said of the judge’s decision. “It allows Sheldon to go on with no conviction on his record. We were pleased about that.”
However, Richardson could be subject to a suspension by the NFL for violating the league’s personal-conduct policy. Asked if he was worried about additional discipline from the league, Rosenblum said, “No, I think we’re optimistic. But that’s a different venue.” He added that it’s “certainly our hope” the court’s ruling will be the end of the matter.
On July 2, the NFL announced Richardson would be suspended for the first four regular-season games of 2015 following a second failed marijuana test. On July 14, Missouri police clocked his 2014 Bentley Flying Spur at 143 mph with a 12-year-old relative and a legally owned but loaded handgun in the car.
According to a statement released at the time by the St. Charles County prosecutor, police said they smelled “a very strong odor of burned marijuana emanating from the vehicle and all passengers smelled of burned marijuana” at the time of Richardson’s arrest. But it later was determined that there wasn’t enough evidence to charge Richardson with drug possession or child endangerment.