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Dante Fowler given 16 tickets in 3 years before recent arrest

Fowler charged with simple battery, mischief in St. Petersburg

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A day after Jaguars defensive end Dante Fowler made headlines for an arrest in St. Petersburg, the I-TEAM continued to investigate Fowler's history with law enforcement, including a slew of tickets from multiple counties.

St. Petersburg police said in a news release that Fowler was arrested Tuesday on charges of simple battery and criminal mischief after getting into a confrontation with a man who made a comment about his driving.

An arrest report said Fowler exchanged words with the man before hitting him. The man's glasses were knocked off and Fowler stepped on them before taking a grocery bag, which included liquor, from the man and tossing it in a lake, police said.

Police said the man wasn't injured.

The arrest brought to light another arrest in Miami that had not previously been public knowledge related to charges of assault on a police officer and resisting without violence.

Fowler, who played for the University of Florida and was the Jaguars' first-round draft pick in 2015, also has a lengthy history of traffic infractions across the state, but has never had his license suspended. 

According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, Fowler has had 16 tickets  since February 2015. 

That year, Fowler got four tickets, one in Santa Rosa County in the Panhandle, two in Marion County, including one for going 99 in a 70 mph zone, and one in Duval County.

In 2016 he was issued eight citations: One in Brevard County for going 109 in a 70; four in Duval County, including 98 in a 55; two in Alachua County, including 99 in a 70; and another in Marion County.

Fowler has four tickets so far in 2017: One in Polk County for going 95 in a 70, one in Bradford for going 86 in a 45, and two in Pinellas County. 

In total, from all of these infractions, Fowler has only had 17 points put on his license, and these are only some of the citations given to Fowler in that span. 

In Florida, a license can be suspended for 30 days if a driver gets 12 points in a 12-month period.

At one point, Fowler had 11 points from June 16, 2016, to May 16, 2017, but he never hit 12, and his license was never suspended. 

In 10 cases, adjudication was withheld and no points were given.

Attorney Mitch Stone said that is not uncommon for anyone who takes a traffic ticket to court.

“A lot of times, they walk away and there is a resolution that doesn't end up with points on the license, which is very well the goal in mind,” Stone said.

Stone also said that because Fowler had previously entered a pretrial diversion program for the March 2016 arrest in Miami Beach, that might not be an option for the NFL star this time.

“The prosecutor could easily say he's already got that one shot, he's not getting it again. In that event, they have to decide if it's worthy of prosecution,” Stone said. “But there's no hard and fast rule that says you can't possibly get it.”

The Clerk of Courts office in Pinellas County told the I-TEAM on Thursday that no court date has been set for Fowler on his misdemeanor charges and that prosecutors will decide when that will happen.