Local News

UNC's Lawson arrested for drinking, driving

Posted June 6, 2008

— Chapel Hill police arrested UNC basketball player Ty Lawson early Friday after stopping a car he was driving and determining he had been drinking, they said.

The arrest report lists Lawson's charge as "provisional licensee," which indicates that he was found to be driving after consuming alcohol. Because Lawson is under 21, the typical DWI laws – which define an unlawful level of alcohol consumption – do not apply. There is no legal amount that a person under 21 can drink.

The section of law that police cited in charging Lawson is titled "driving by person less than 21 years old after consuming alcohol or drugs." It states that anyone under 21 cannot drive "while consuming alcohol or at any time while he has remaining in his body any alcohol or controlled substance previously consumed...."

Police stopped the sophomore at about 2:30 a.m. on North Columbia Street after hearing loud music coming from his 2005 Chevrolet, authorities said. Lawson took a roadside breath test. which registered .03.

He was also charged with violating a city noise ordinance and driving with a suspended or revoked license.

A spokeswoman with the North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles said Lawson, who has a Maryland driver's license, lost his driving privileges in November after he failed to show up to court for a May 2007 speeding violation.

According to his driving record, Lawson was also charged with driving without a license on May 12 in his home state of Maryland.

Steve Kirschner, with UNC's sports information department, said the university would "not comment until after the case goes through the legal process" and that "neither coach [Roy] Williams nor Ty Lawson will issue a statement" until Lawson's case was heard.

Lawson is one of three UNC-Chapel Hill basketball players who have entered their names in the NBA draft pool. They have until June 16 to make a final decision before the June 26 draft.

He told WRAL in a May 28 interview that he had a target in mind and would like to be assured of a top-20 spot in the draft before making any kind of permanent decision on staying in the draft.

Marty Blake, the NBA’s director of scouting, said from his office in Alpharetta, Ga., that he projects Lawson as a first-round pick, and the arrest will not affect Lawson’s status.

“It’s not going to make any difference. I think this is an isolated case,” Blake said.

Blake said many NBA clubs are looking for point guards and praised Lawson’s quickness and overall ability.

“I think he’d be drafted in the first round. He is a very good basketball player. He has very good speed,” Blake said.


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  • sandlizzard12 Jun 6, 2008

    He's ready for the NBA. It was reported that he was humming " Bad boys, bad boys, what ya gonna do when they come for you" while being transported up town.

    This ain't no big deal. He just got caught......thankful before he killed an innocent driver.

  • bluewater Jun 6, 2008

    "Is this the role model we want for our teenagers?" No. Because these characters aren't role models for anyone. And they don't want to be. They're in it for themselves, the money, the fame, etc and if they never played another game the world wouldn't miss them. Pick a role model that changes things, that makes a difference, not some dumb basketball player.

  • tartar1 Jun 6, 2008

    why do people on here try to act so moral?? yall know you drank (maybe not drank & drive) before you turned 21

  • moreupset Jun 6, 2008

    Is this the role model we want for our teenagers?

  • Common Sense Man Jun 6, 2008

    "Because Lawson is under 21, the typical DWI laws – which define an unlawful level of alcohol consumption – do not apply. There is no legal amount that a person under 21 can drink.

    Then he must be guilty of DWI"

    No. He would be found guilty of driving after consuming while being under 21. That is not the same as DWI.

  • Common Sense Man Jun 6, 2008

    "Read the arrest report...

    If he had been drinking, then why on the report does it indicate "no" under alcohol or drug use?"

    You looked under the "Victim" box. The arrest report does indicate alcohol use. Obviously........

  • DowntownGirl Jun 6, 2008

    Seriously, james27613, wherever he was drinking in Chapel Hill, he would have gotten to that point on N. Columbia in 5 to 10 minutes at that time of the morning. Then it would have taken another few minutes to the police department if they didn't conduct the Breathalyzer on site. I doubt there would have been any change in the Breathalyzer. And, seriously, not "everyone else drinks at UNC" but probably most kids do on that campus as well as every campus in the country. And, I'm seriously having a hard time getting your leap from this to murder.

  • mrkagain Jun 6, 2008


    What's that? Two beers over an hour, at most..... it was underage drinking... was stupid... yes... But folks, it ain't no big deal....... good grief. If he wasn't well known, no one would ever know except the kid's parents and a few friends.... geez...........

  • james27613 Jun 6, 2008

    BA was .03 when they tested him, who knows what it was
    before he got behind the wheel of the car.

    The problem today is 'everyone else drinks at unc, etc' so
    what is the big deal ???

    Tell that to the probation officer that was responsible for
    the case of the dude who is accused of killing UNC student !

    Instead of a fine, make him pay court costs and then
    one year of community service, perhaps at the Morgue and the
    ER at UNC and Duke hospitals to see what can happen when
    you don't get caught until you kill somebody.

  • Dido Jun 6, 2008

    An underage college basketball player drinking? No worries...he's just prepping for the NBA!