NICHOLASVILLE — Cleveland Indians outfielder Austin Kearns intends to enter a conditional plea of guilty to a drunken-driving charge next month, but he will reserve the right to appeal a judge's decision not to dismiss the case, his attorney said Tuesday.
Noel Caldwell, an attorney for Kearns, said after a status hearing that Kearns will enter a conditional plea July 12 in Jessamine District Court.
Kearns, 30, was not in court Tuesday, and Caldwell said his client will not be in court to enter the plea. Defendants who are out of state are allowed to enter pleas without being present, Jessamine County Attorney Brian Goettl said.
Kearns, a Lexington native, was stopped early Feb. 12 by an off-duty Lexington police officer on Golf Club Drive off U.S. 68 in Jessamine County.
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A police report said the Cadillac Escalade that Kearns was driving was weaving on the road and was going down an emergency lane without headlights.
Kearns refused to take field sobriety tests, and later, at the Jessamine County jail, he refused to take a breath test to measure blood-alcohol content.
In May, Judge Janet Booth overruled a defense motion to dismiss the charge. The defense had argued that the case should be thrown out because the officer who stopped Kearns was outside his legal jurisdiction.
But a law enforcement officer may ask a police officer from another county "to assist in any matter within the jurisdiction," and that officer has "the same powers of arrest" in the requesting county as he possesses in the county in which he is an officer, according to state law.
Entering a conditional plea "allows us to enter a plea but also to appeal the judge's ruling," Caldwell said. "We're going to appeal."
In Kentucky, a first-offense DUI is punished by two to 30 days in jail, a fine of $200 to $500, or both. A judge may impose a license suspension of 30 to 120 days.