Since MMA (and every other sport) is on vacation due to COVID-19, Jon Jones picked a particularly bad time to run afoul of the law yet again. Early Thursday morning, the UFC light heavyweight champion was arrested on DWI and firearms charges. Police bodycam footage and the officer’s reports don’t look good for the champ, and combined with his many other run-ins with police in the past, Jones could be looking at a more serious punishment this time around.
MMA Fighting spoke to a criminal defense attorney, David Serna, who gave his expert opinion on the circumstances surrounding the case. In particular, his 2012 DUI case could be used to show that Jones deserves jail time for this arrest:
“It allows the prosecutor to make a strong argument, look how many opportunities he’s had to modify his behavior, and look how every time he’s been given an opportunity, he thumbs his nose and does what he pleases.
“I would think that the judge would probably give the guy some time, because the judge would look at the prior history and see the guy has been given break after break and may say now’s the time you’re going to be held accountable,” Serna said.
Overall though, Serna believes that it will depend on whether the prosecuting attorneys believe that they can get a conviction, as they may be apprehensive about going forward with a jury trial without a slam-dunk case. Also, a plea bargain is a large possibility:
“Usually, the DA is happy to waive a jury trial whether it’s part of a plea bargain, dropping it down from a second to a first (offense), or whether it’s because the DA doesn’t want to go through all the hassle and time a jury trial will take,” he said. “It will take a day just to pick the jury because this guy is well-known. It will take a day or two just to try the case, so what started out as a half-day bench trial gets stretched out to a two or three-day trial. Prosecutors typically are more than happy to waive a jury trial because of all the time it eats up that could have been used pleading out dozens of other people.”
Jones is scheduled to go to court for a bond hearing on April 8th, but COVID-19 has caused delays in the court system. So it could be a while longer than that before he gets in front of a judge.