In the end, a couple of citations for speeding and marijuana possession were probably among the least of Packers’ linebacker Za’Darius Smith’s concerns this month.
Smith, 27, got the tickets in Racine County last fall while returning to Green Bay from Chicago with rookie teammates Rashan Gary and Kingsley Keke. He hired a lawyer, entered not guilty pleas and figured on dealing with it before the start of the next season.
Now, of course, his and his teammates’ health amid the cororonavirus pandemic, and whether there’ll even be a season, probably take precedence of his legal problem.
But last week, Smith pleaded no contest to a reduced speeding charge and prosecutors dismissed the citation for possessing marijuana, according to online court records. His initial court appearance on the tickets had been set for Thursday.
Smith’s initial speeding citation was for 20-24 mph over the limit on I-94, but he pleaded guilty to one for 11-14 mph over the limit. Online court records do not indicate the amount of any fine.
Racine County District Attorney Patricia Hanson declined to talk about the cases Tuesday, and Smith’s attorney, Brian Maloney of Green Bay, did not immediately return a call about the matter.
According to reports from the Racine County Sheriff’s Office, Smith was driving a gray 2019 GMC Yukon northbound on Interstate 94 about 5:30 p.m. on Sept. 29 when deputies clocked him going 81 mph in a 60 mph construction zone.
Smith was pulled over. Because a deputy smelled the odor of marijuana, all three players were asked to step out and were handcuffed and questioned separately.
Three blunts — hollowed-out cigars filled with marijuana — and a vaping cartridge were found inside a duffel bag in the rear of the SUV. Smith seemed surprised, but told the deputies, “I’ll put it on me” when asked if the items were his.