Published August 16, 2010
MIAMI -- A passenger in Udonis Haslem's vehicle told the Florida Highway Patrol that marijuana found after a weekend traffic stop on a South Florida highway was his. The Miami Heat forward's lawyer believes that should vindicate the NBA veteran.
Eric Schwartzreich, Haslem's attorney, said Monday that the State Attorney's Office is reviewing the arrest paperwork, a process that should be completed in the coming days. Haslem was arrested Sunday afternoon and charged with possessing more than 20 grams of marijuana, a third-degree felony, along with four counts of possessing drug paraphernalia.
"He's a little rattled," Schwartzreich said. "He's upset. He doesn't know how he can be charged with this."
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 2008 Mercedes sedan was searched multiple times, and marijuana was eventually found in a blue nylon bag that the Heat player's passenger, Antwain Fleming, said 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. It's unclear why Haslem could face the stiffer charge.
"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.