Broncos' Marshall pleads guilty to reduced charge

DENVER -- Broncos wide receiver Brandon Marshall pleaded guilty Friday to a reduced charge in a drunken-driving case and avoided jail time.

Marshall pleaded guilty to driving while ability-impaired and was sentenced to a year of probation. He was originally charged with driving under the influence after his arrest in October 2007. District attorney's spokeswoman Lynn Kimbrough said if Marshall had been convicted of a DUI, he could have faced from five days up to a year in jail.

Age: 24

Height: 6-4 Weight: 230

College: Central Florida

Experience: 3rd season

Kimbrough said Marshall's plea agreement is typical for first-time offenders in drunken-driving cases.

Prosecutors said Marshall must pay $1,100 in fees and fines and will likely be required to serve 24 hours of community service and attend alcohol-treatment classes and a victim-impact panel. Marshall will keep his driver's license, his attorney Harvey Steinberg said.

Steinberg said Marshall has learned from his mistakes.

"He's literally grown up in the last few months. He had to deal with this and he couldn't shirk his responsibilities," Steinberg said.

Marshall's arrest was one of three in a year's span. Atlanta police arrested him in March after his girlfriend, Rasheeda Watley, accused him of hitting her. Police in Highlands Ranch, Colo., also arrested Marshall last year after Watley told them he used a car to block her cab and prevent her from leaving his apartment complex.

No charges have been filed in the Atlanta case, but that incident prompted NFL commissioner Roger Goodell to summon Marshall to meet with him in New York in July.

The NFL suspended Marshall for three games for his off-field behavior but later reduced it to one game after he appealed. He missed the team's opener against the Oakland Raiders but is expected to play Sunday against San Diego.

"I think the specter of a three-game suspension was a big eye opener," Steinberg said. "He realized the possibility of what he loved being taken away."

Steinberg said Marshall agreed to accept a plea deal in the Denver case.

"It's a situation where if there was a trial, although he's likely to prevail, it would've been a media circus and interfered with practices and game planning. He wanted everything behind him. Everything's over now."

Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press.

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