JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Jaguars star running back Leonard Fournette's traffic stop last week not only landed him in jail -- however briefly -- he also walked away with two citations for his window tint being too dark, which carries a $228 fine.
Fournette, 24, was given a notice to appear in court and released from the Duval County jail Thursday afternoon less than an hour after he was arrested on a charge of knowingly driving on a suspended license.
The charge stems from an unpaid traffic ticket dating back to November.
According to a Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office report, an officer stopped Fournette near St. Johns Bluff Road and Atlantic Boulevard for going 65 mph in a 45-mph zone. Records show the same officer let Fournette off with a written warning over the summer for going 85 mph in a 45-mph zone.
Fournette was previously cited Nov. 17, 2018, in Neptune Beach after an officer witnessed him doing 37 mph in a 25-mph zone. The 24-year-old received a $204 ticket, but since it was never paid, his driver’s license was suspended last month.
News4Jax cameras were rolling on Thursday when Fournette was brought into the sally port at the Duval County jail about 2:30 p.m. He was removed from the back of a patrol car and processed. Fournette walked out less than an hour later.
Ridiculous to arrest him. I mean, he’s a Jaguar. He’s not gonna run!!! Write him a ticket, and let him be on his way. Geez!— Allyson (@ally32250) April 12, 2019
Christian Hancock, public information officer for the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, said it’s up to an officer whether to arrest someone or issue a notice to appear for a misdemeanor traffic offense. No mug photo was taken because Fournette wasn’t booked.
The quick turnaround in Fournette’s case has raised questions about whether he received favorable treatment. Josh Askew, who’s worked as a bail bondsman for five years, said he feels the athlete went through the system much faster than typical arrestees.
“Why is it when anyone else goes to jail and you post bond, it takes hours for them to get out?” Askew wondered, noting that it has taken clients as long 12 hours to be released from custody. “And you’re a football player who comes in and he’s out 24 minutes after.”
Criminal defense attorney Rhonda Peoples-Waters, who has no ties to the case, agreed that the time it took to process Fournette’s arrest was speedy.
“That is certainly uncommon,” Peoples-Waters said. “That is a rare circumstance and, for most of us in the defense attorney world, we understand that it is going to take hours for you to have your client bond out.”
She pointed out that Fournette’s charge is a relatively minor misdemeanor. She added that the officer who pulled him over could have chosen to release him at the scene instead of handcuffing him, and given him a notice to appear during the traffic stop.
“It’s a great lesson to all of us to take care of our responsibilities,” she said after reviewing the case at the request of News4Jax. “It is against the law and we understand the police have the right to obviously move forward.”
Peoples-Waters said charges like these aren’t too difficult to get rid of. Most likely, Fournette and his legal team will pay the fines and fees, and the charge will be reduced to a traffic citation or dropped altogether. She expects Fournette to have his license reinstated.
On Tuesday, Jaguars coach Doug Marone announced Fournette won't face any discipline from the team over his arrest.