Former NFL star quarterback Michael Vick pled guilty last week to a Virginia dog fighting charge, and received a three year suspended sentence, much less than the maximum of 10 years he could have been assessed. One count of cruelty to animals was dropped under the plea deal. Mr. Vick arrived in Court in Sussex, Virginia wearing wrist and ankle shackles along with his gray suit. He apologized to the Court, his family and the fans who had looked up to him as a role model during his years as a star quarterback for the Atlanta Falcons.
Vick is already serving a 23 month sentence in Leavenworth, Kansas on a 2007 federal conviction of bankrolling a dog fighting operation at his home in Surry County, near Richmond, Virginia. He is scheduled to be released on July 20, 2009, and then will start his three years of probation. The Falcons owner, Arthur Blank, has stated definitively that Vick will never play for the Falcons again. It is unclear if any other NFL team would take a chance on Mr. Vick, especially with all the dog lovers around the United States.
Had Vick been convicted of dog fighting in New York on similar evidence, under the Agriculture & Markets Law, he would have been looking at a felony with up to four years in prison and a fine of potentially $25,000. And New York dog fighting spectators beware–if you bet on dog fighting in New York, you can go to jail for up to one year and/or be fined $1,000.00!
If you have been charged with a misdemeanor or felony, contact The Law Office Of Mark A. Siesel online or toll free at 914-224-3086 for a free consultation with an experienced, knowledgeable advocate to explain your legal rights and options and make sure you are provided the best defense possible.