Prosecutors in California entered into a plea agreement with the UFC fighter Nick Diaz in July 2015 in connection with a number of criminal charges including two counts of driving under the influence. The former welterweight title contender had been facing significant jail time, but a deal struck by his attorneys will see him spend just one day behind bars. Diaz was charged with DUI in 2013 and 2014.
According to media reports, Diaz will enter a plea of no contest to one of the drunk driving charges in return for a two-day jail sentence. The fighter had spent a day in jail when his attorneys entered into the plea agreement, so he will have one day remaining on his sentence when he surrenders to authorities. Three other charges were dropped by prosecutors in return for the no contest plea. One of the charges dropped was the second count of drunk driving.
The two DUI charges are among a number of substance abuse problems that have plagued the career of the talented fighter. Diaz served a one year ban after his second positive drug test, and he will appear before the Nevada State Athletic Commission to explain why he tested positive for marijuana for the third time after a bout in January.
This case shows how prosecutors may be willing to accept a plea agreement even when the evidence in a criminal case seems compelling. Accepting a plea gives prosecutors a conviction and allows them to avoid the uncertainty of a trial. Some point to this kind of plea agreement as a sign that celebrities receive preferential treatment from the criminal justice system, but criminal defense attorneys may see things differently. They would point out that deals like this one are negotiated for clients in all walks of life on a regular basis, but these agreements rarely attract the attention of the media.