Jim Irsay charged with two misdemeanors in March OWI arrest

Jim Irsay
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Colts owner Jim Irsay is being charged with two misdemeanors in connection with his March arrest for driving under the influence, Eyewitness News has learned.

The charges were filed in Hamilton County Friday afternoon. Irsay faces two charges: operating a vehicle while intoxicated and operating a vehicle with a Schedule I or II substance in a person’s body. The charges can carry up to 60 days in jail.

"We want to thank the Hamilton County Prosecutor's Office for its professionalism in its investigation regarding Mr. Irsay and for devoting the necessary care and attention to determine the facts in this matter did not warrant the filing of felony charges relative to Mr. Irsay's prescription medications. Mr. Irsay will deal with the remaining misdemeanor charges through the judicial process," Irsay's attorneys said in a statement.

Read the prosecutor's statement and court documents here.

The NFL issued this statement: "The NFL's Personal Conduct Policy applies to all league personnel and holds all of us accountable. We are reviewing the matter and will take appropriate action in accordance with the policy."

Irsay was arrested March 17 for operating a vehicle while intoxicated. Officers found prescription pills in his vehicle.

"I think they should just let him be. Everybody makes mistakes and that's just the way it should be," said Kelli Malinowski of Noblesville."As long as nobody got hurt, to me, I think a felony charge would have been excessive," said Frank D'Eramo of Indianapolis.

Felony charges were considered against Irsay when he was arrested. Police say while they found prescription pills in his car, there were no prescription bottles. The filing of misdemeanor charges, says attorney John Tompkins, would seem to show Irsay was in legal possession of the painkillers found in his car.

"I would assume that if they thought that they could prove that he didn't have legitimate prescriptions, they would have filed the charge," he said. "It sounds like they were shown at least enough to give them a reason to hesitate and not be sure."

The misdemeanor charges filed Friday each carry a penalty of up to 60 days in jail, but Tompkins says it is unlikely Irsay will serve any time behind bars. Not because of who he is, but because of how the system works.

"What I tell my clients, no matter what their name is, is this: You are a first offense, misdemeanor impaired driving defendant. Unless you commit a new crime while this case is pending, it is very unlikely that you will spend any more time in jail," he said.

Irsay checked into a rehab facility after his arrest and remained out of the public spotlight until this week, when he attended the NFL owners meeting in Atlanta as the 2018 Super Bowl host city was announced.

Irsay's initial court hearing on the charges is scheduled for June 19.

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