DENVER — Ty Lawson, the Denver Nuggets’ point guard and leading scorer, was arrested on suspicion of DUI Friday morning, Denver Police have confirmed. According to Lawson’s statements to police, this would be his second DUI if he’s found guilty.
Lawson was arrested shortly after 1:15 a.m. on Friday, following a traffic stop in the 3400 block of Park Avenue, which is five blocks north of the Fillmore Auditorium. Police said Lawson was driving a white Mercedes and was initially stopped for speeding, as officers indicated the vehicle was clocked at 61 mph in a 35 mph zone.
Though he refused to take a chemical test, according to police, Lawson admitted to drinking alcohol before driving, his eyes were bloodshot, he was slurring his speech, there was a strong smell of alcohol on his breath, he was unsteady on his feet and he failed a field sobriety test. Police said Lawson also did not have valid identification on his person.
In addition to being charged with a second-offense DUI, Lawson was issued citations for speeding and careless driving.
Lawson was arrested per his request, police said. He posted $1,500 bond and was released from jail Friday morning.
The 27-year-old NBA star told police he “was the subject of a previous DUI out of the state of Missouri,” which appears to be why he was charged with second-offense DUI in this case. The Associated Press covered a similar incident involving Lawson in 2008, when he pleaded guilty to driving after underage drinking in Chapel Hill, N.C. He was attending the University of North Carolina at the time.
In that case, Lawson took a roadside breath test, which registered a 0.03, well under the state’s legal limit of 0.08. However, there was no legal amount Lawson could have consumed before driving, as he was then 20 years old.
This isn’t Lawson’s first arrest in Denver, either. He was also taken into custody in August of 2013 along with his girlfriend following a domestic dispute, though the charges in that incident were ultimately dropped.
The next court appearance for the latest Denver incident involving Lawson was scheduled for Tuesday.
In a down year for the Nuggets, who owned an 18-24 record heading into Friday night’s contest with the Boston Celtics at the Pepsi Center, Lawson leads the team in points and assists, averaging 16.7 and 9.9 per game, respectively. He also became one of the team’s highest paid players when he signed a four-year contract worth $48 million in 2012.
It was not immediately clear if Lawson would be available for Friday night’s game, but the Nuggets did issue a statement Friday morning.
“We have been made aware of an incident involving Ty Lawson early this morning,” Nuggets general manager Tim Connelly wrote in a statement. “Per team policy and out of respect for the legal process, we will have no further comment at this time.”
NBA teams typically have practices, known as shootarounds, the morning before games. However, Denver Nuggets coach Brian Shaw said earlier this year that he was experimenting with doing away with those morning shootarounds in part because this year’s Nuggets do seem to enjoy nights on the town.
“When you have a young team, you know, guys like to go out,” Shaw told the Denver Post. “Am I torturing them by making them get up in the morning when they can be sleeping? And whatever it is they did the night before, maybe they have more time to recover as well.”