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What kind of legal trouble could Aqib Talib face? We asked a Texas lawyer

Sam Cowhick Avatar
June 7, 2016


The Denver Broncos received discouraging news June 5 when they were notified Aqib Talib had been shot in the right leg during the early hours of the day, at or near V Live, a Dallas-area nightclub. Nearly three days later, few details have emerged from the police and sources close to Talib have varying accounts of the incident.

The police report released Monday reads that Talib was a victim of a shooting that left him and two others injured at V Live nightclub around 2:45 a.m. According to WFAA-TV’s Rebecca Lopez, Talib told the police he was shot at a park just a couple miles from that club.

Sunday night, BSN Denver was first to report that multiple sources close to the football star stated that Talib told them the gunshot wound was self-inflicted. If indeed it was, Talib potentially faces multiple gun charges in Dallas, not to mention a probable suspension from the National Football League.

Tuesday, Talib was released from the hospital and is expected to make a quick and full recovery after only having to receive stitches for the wound. His football career may not be so lucky.

The police report states that Talib was the victim of aggravated assault by an unknown suspect at 1311 Empire Central, the address of V Live, between 2:45 a.m. and 3:00 a.m. However, WFAA reported Talib maintains he was shot at a park while also telling the police, “Everything was a blur and I was too intoxicated to remember what happened.”

Monday afternoon,  WFAA quoted a police report on the details of Talib’s wound saying, “bullet entered through the rear of Aqib Talib’s right thigh and exited out his right calf.” While, thankfully, the bullet missed major arteries, bones and ligaments, it did all but confirm BSN Denver’s initial report of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Tuesday, we reached out to Mark T. Lassiter, J.D. (http://www.lomtl.com), a Dallas-based criminal defense attorney and former prosecutor for the Dallas County District Attorney’s office, to inquire about what, if any charges Talib would face in Texas if it were found that he did shoot himself at either V Live or the park nearby.

As of now, Talib is far from any charges considering what the current report reads but many questions involving the incident along with BSN Denver’s sources suggest he indeed had a gun and accidentally shot himself at one of the two locations involved in the ongoing investigation.

The first charge that may stem from the incident would be Talib’s possession of a firearm. While it is legal to own a firearm in Texas he would have had to obtain a conceal carry license to have it on his person. Lassiter said Talib’s past charges would likely have kept him from obtaining such a license.

“Let’s say, for instance, he had a gun on him. The real question is does he have a concealed carry license?” Lassiter asked Tuesday. “Because if he doesn’t he could be charged with unlawful carrying of a weapon.”

To obtain a license, Talib would have had to take several classes and get a background check. Although Talib has never been convicted of a crime, he has been charged with simple battery in 2009 (case settled out of court), indicted for aggravated assault in 2011 (charges later dropped) and questioned at the scene of an aggravated assault in 2015. Those charges would have prevented him from obtaining a conceal carry license unless he completely cleared his record.

“If you ever get charged with a crime, subsequently you would not be able to keep your concealed carry card,” Lassiter explained. “Texas says, ‘Look, you’ve demonstrated you’re not capable of having the responsibility necessary to own a firearm and conceal carry it so we are going to take that card away.’ My understanding of his criminal history is that he probably wouldn’t be able to get one.”

In Texas, possession of a firearm without a license in a place that serves alcohol, like V Live, is considered a Class 3 felony. If he possessed it outside at a park, where he stated the shooting occurred, it would only be a misdemeanor. But an additional charge would occur if he indeed discharged the weapon.

“If the evidence suggests he shot himself then the likelihood is, if it was an accident, it would be a Class A misdemeanor [for deadly conduct],” Lassiter said. “The realistic expectation of the case with a person with no criminal history is take some classes on gun safety.

“If they thought it was something serious enough, which they may in this particular incident based on his history with violence,” he added. “They might ask him to do what is called deferred adjudication. Which is be on probation for a period of time, usually one to two years, somewhere in that range, make sure you do all the classes, community services and pay fines and court costs. Provided you do all that, at the end of that probationary period the case is dismissed and you can get it off your record through what is called a non-disclosure. For first-time offenders, that is the likely outcome.”

If Talib shot himself, as BSN Denver has been told, certainly the Dallas Police would have to prove it but according to Lassiter, he would be facing both a misdemeanor for unlawful carrying of a weapon (if he does not have a license) and a misdemeanor deadly conduct charge for accidentally discharging the weapon.

Only if he is proven to have carried the gun in a prohibitive place, such as V Live, shot at one or more individuals or have discharged the weapon at a residence would he be charged with a third-degree felony. That charge which would carry a possible penalty of two to 10 years in jail.

As of Tuesday, the Dallas Police and the NFL are continuing to look into the incident and currently Lassiter does not see much evidence to believe Talib is in any legal danger. Lassiter, who represents many clients in such cases, detailed what he would say to Talib if he were his attorney in his current situation.

“If Aqib Talib came into my office and said, ‘What is a realistic expectation of this case?’ The first thing I would tell him is, realistically, The Dallas County prosecutor’s office, who would be the charging party in this instance, they have got real problems with their case because nobody seems to have a good grasp of what really happened. First, in order to charge him, they would have to some sort of information that he shot himself and based on the police report that suggests someone else shot him, he will not be charged at all.”

It is clear that the incident that left Talib with a gunshot wound Sunday morning is far from over. The report and Talib’s account differ and BSN Denver sources have also stated a third vital detail.

As of now, Talib is set to return to the Broncos Wednesday but won’t see the field soon. While he heals the Dallas Police department won’t rest until one clear story, not multiple foggy ones of the incident come to light.



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