Former Baseball Star Mark Grace Starts Jail Term for DUI

Mugshot of Mark GraceFormer baseball All-Star Mark Grace is now a guest of Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Grace started a four-month stint in Sheriff Joe’s Tent City this weekend after being convicted last year for a second DUI in the state.

It’s unclear if Grace will be compelled to wear the sheriff’s famous pink underpants.

Grace played first base for 16 years for the Chicago Cubs and Arizona Diamondbacks, and had been a broadcaster for the Diamondbacks until his most recent arrest. He was stopped in Scottsdale in August for driving with expired tags, and police determined that he was over the legal limit of .08 BAC.

Worse, the 2001 World Series champion was driving with an expired license, and without an ignition interlock device — conditions that stemmed from his other DUI arrest in Arizona in 2011.

The ballplayer was charged with four felonies, and pleaded guilty to one, plus a misdemeanor for driving under the influence. He was sentenced to a four-month residency with Sheriff Joe, plus two years probation.

It could be worse — Grace is on a work release program, so he can spend half the day working somewhere outside Tent City, which Arpaio has described as “a concentration camp.”

Though he was relieved of his broadcasting duties, Grace did participate in a fantasy camp with the Diamondbacks this winter. He released a semi-apology at the time, although one bare on specifics since his court case was still ongoing.

“Up until, probably, less than two weeks ago, I didn’t think I was going to be here,” he said in a video. “Fortunately the Diamondbacks — just selfishly saying — showed a lot of class in giving me the opportunity. Obviously, circumstances made me think I probably wasn’t going to be here. And rightfully so. But they were kind enough and classy enough, in my opinion, to ask me out here and I jumped at the opportunity.”

 

 Super DUI Task Forces

James E. Novak

Arizona started bumping up its DUI enforcement last year, criminal defense attorney James E. Novak, of the Law Offices of James E. Novak, notes on his blog. “There were 49,673 [traffic stops] in 2011,” Novak writes. “In in contrast, police made 67,225 DUI traffic stops in 2012. This is 26.27% increase from last year to this year.”

DUIs involving drivers who have a blood alcohol content of more than .15, considered extreme DUIs, constitute about a quarter of arrests.

“As a result, the [Arizona Governor’s Office of Highway Safety] announced it will be focusing closer on Extreme DUI arrests, in an effort to combat and reduce these numbers,” Novak continues. “To accomplish this, they have created larger, more effective DUI task forces. They joined forces 70 agencies strong, into a super DUI Task forces.”

Poor Mark Grace didn’t have a chance, driving drunk when nearly the whole state law enforcement apparatus was out looking for DUIs.

“The sum of all, will be increasing their presence, and use combined resources for stronger, more effective valley-wide enforcement,” Novak writes. “The message they wish to send is that they ‘are everywhere’.”

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