The Salt Lake Tribune’s Jay Drew reported Thursday that junior WR Neil Pau’u entered a “Not Guilty” plea in the Provo City Justice Court after being arrested on Jun. 8 on charges of Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol and Interference with a Traffic Control Device or Signal.
BYU's response to WR Neil Pau'u being accused of driving drunk on BYU campus by BYU police: "We are aware of the situation and [are] looking into it." https://t.co/D7XvSlAnsE— Jay Drew (@drewjay) June 20, 2019
According to BYU Police, Pau’u attempted to drive through a barrier blocking traffic on campus. He admitted to officers that he had drunk two “jungle juices,” (like a Kool-Aid cocktail) that night, and because of this and the smell of alcohol present in the car, Pau’u was taken to the Utah County Jail, where he took an Intoxilyzer test that showed his Breath Alcohol Level (BAC) to be a .147, which is nearly three times Utah’s new legal limit of .05. Pau’u will appear in court again alongside his attorney on July 22.
Aside from any potential sanctions from BYU’s Honor Code Office or Head Coach Kalani Sitake, Pau’u faces some potentially stiff criminal penalties if convicted. Utah law mandates that any person convicted of a DUI serve either 2 days in jail or 48 hours of community service, with potential for a lot more if he does not comply with the conditions of his probation. He will also likely have to undergo alcohol treatment and pay almost $1,500 in fines and court costs.
However, because Pau’u does not have any previous criminal history, he may be able to strike a deal with prosecutors and plead to a lesser charge of Impaired Driving, which is less likely to include actual jail time. No matter the outcome, Pau’u’s status for the beginning of the season might be in serious jeopardy.