Aldon Smith pleads not guilty to weapons charges

Santa Clara, CA ( - San Francisco 49ers linebacker Aldon Smith has pleaded not guilty to three felony counts of illegal possession of an assault weapon.

The charges stem from a June 2012 party that Smith hosted where he was stabbed and two others were shot. Deputies discovered the guns shortly after the party.

The 24-year-old is due back in court Jan. 15 for a hearing that will combine weapons charges with Smith's DUI case from September.

On the field, Smith has been one of the NFL's premier pass rushers since being taken by San Francisco with the seventh overall pick of the 2011 draft. He notched 14 sacks during his rookie season, then ranked second in the league with 19 1/2 sacks last year while helping the 49ers to an appearance in Super Bowl XLVII.

The Missouri product has 4 1/2 sacks in four games this year. He returned to the playing field this past Sunday for the first time since voluntarily leaving the team on Sept. 23 to undergo substance-abuse treatment at an undisclosed out-of-state facility.