Published August 16, 2010
MIAMI – Udonis Haslem of the Miami Heat released a statement Monday night expressing confidence that he'll be vindicated, one day after he was charged with possession of marijuana following a traffic stop.
"I am confident that once the judicial process runs its course, I will be cleared," Haslem said.
A passenger in Haslem's 2008 Mercedes sedan told the Florida Highway Patrol that marijuana found in the car Sunday afternoon after the Heat forward was pulled over for speeding on a South Florida highway was his — and Haslem's attorney insisted that's enough reason for the third-degree felony charge to be dropped.
Eric Schwartzreich, Haslem's attorney, said the State Attorney's Office is reviewing the arrest paperwork, a process that should be completed in the coming days. Haslem is accused of possessing more than 20 grams of marijuana, a third-degree felony, along with four misdemeanor counts of having drug paraphernalia.
"He's a little rattled," Schwartzreich said. "He's upset. He doesn't know how he can be charged with this."
A hearing in Haslem's case has been scheduled for Sept. 14 in Miami-Dade County court.
Haslem was freed from custody late Sunday night, about seven hours after a trooper pulled him over for driving 78 mph in a 60 mph zone on the Gratigny Parkway. Haslem's car was searched multiple times and marijuana was eventually found in two places, first in a black case under the driver's seat, then later in a blue nylon bag.
Antwain Fleming, Haslem's passenger, told troopers that all the marijuana in the car belonged to him.
Both were transported into police custody. Court records show Fleming faces a charge of possessing less than 20 grams of marijuana, a first-degree misdemeanor, along with another misdemeanor charge related to paraphernalia.
"We are confident Udonis Haslem will be vindicated," Schwartzreich said. "We have a situation where the passenger admits the marijuana was his and Mr. Haslem tells police nothing was in the vehicle.
"I think the police report speaks for itself," Schwartzreich added. "I am hopeful that Udonis Haslem will not be charged."
Haslem's car, worth more than $100,000, may face forfeiture, according to court records. The speeding ticket brings a $269 fine, and FHP spokesman Sgt. Mark Wysocky said Haslem was also cited for having illegal window tint.
"We are aware of the incident involving Udonis Haslem yesterday afternoon, and while we fully support our players, since this is a pending legal matter we will have no further comment at this time," Heat president Pat Riley said in a statement Monday evening.
Haslem has spent all seven of his NBA seasons with the Heat, and the South Florida native signed a new five-year contract to stay with the team last month.
"He is our anchor, he is a true warrior and a great professional," Riley said in July, after Haslem announced he would forgo higher-paying offers elsewhere to stay in Miami and continue playing alongside Dwyane Wade, plus team up with marquee acquisitions LeBron James and Chris Bosh.
During his NBA career, Haslem has averaged 10.0 points and 8.1 rebounds for Miami, helping the Heat win the 2006 NBA championship.