LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — After Henry Ruggs III missed a court-ordered alcohol test, you may be wondering what's next for the former Raiders receiver and how this slip-up will affect his deadly DUI trial.
13 Action News spoke with local attorney Chip Siegel, who has more than two decades of experience with DUI cases in Clark County. He says it's never good to miss a court-ordered alcohol test, but it would be much worse if it were to happen again.
"For a judge to have a condition that, 'Hey, you're going to either be on an ankle bracelet, which is going to test you continuously, or, if you've got an injury or just to accommodate the person, that you're going to breathe into one of these devices four times a day, that's pretty normal, nothing weird about it," Siegel said.
#NEW: @a_bethencourttv is at a hearing for former #Raider #HenryRuggs III. A judge says he missed a scheduled breathalyzer test and has ordered Ruggs to physically appear in court next Monday. Story: https://t.co/QDE2chs7jL pic.twitter.com/wVhGv1840K
— KTNV 13 Action News (@KTNV) November 17, 2021
In a case like the one involving Ruggs, where the defendant is charged with DUI resulting in death, Siegel says regularly required alcohol testing is a common condition of bail. What's not as normal is missing one of those required alcohol tests, like Ruggs recently did while on house arrest.
"He's in front of a very good judge, an excellent judge in Judge [Suzan] Baucum. She handles these cases all the time. This is the condition that she wants, and you don't want to violate the judge's terms of what she wants," Siegel said.
Siegel expects Ruggs will be reprimanded for missing this test when he reports to court on Monday, and the judge will then decide whether to further discipline him.
"Does this mean he's definitely going back to jail? No. Does it mean he's going to get a very stern talking-to from Judge Baucum? Absolutely. Does it mean he has to be worried that Judge Baucum might say, 'Hey, you violated the condition of your release and you're going back to jail?' Yeah, he needs to be concerned about that," Siegel said.
— Alyssa Bethencourt (@a_bethencourttv) November 17, 2021
Siegel says he'll be surprised if Ruggs misses a second test, or he would be a lot more likely to land in jail and face an uphill battle with Judge Baucum.
"Technically, public perception has no impact on the judge. Realistically, yeah, that's going to be something that any judge would have to consider, that this is getting a lot of scrutiny," Siegel said. "So you do take a chance any time you don't follow what a judge says, especially in a high-profile case. It puts more pressure on the judge, even though it's not supposed to."
It's important to note that Siegel says Ruggs' missed alcohol test will have no effect on the verdict in his case, only his ability to remain out on bail while his case plays out in court.