McAlister acquitted of DUI charge

FAIRFAX, Va. - Baltimore Ravens cornerback Chris McAlister was acquitted of a driving under the influence charge Tuesday afternoon.<p> A motion filed by McAlister's lawyer to dismiss the charge was granted at Fairfax County General District Court moments after a prosecutor opted to not pursue the case further because of a lack of evidence. <p>

The Ravens' franchise player was arrested August 18 after being pulled over for driving 86 mph in a 55 mph zone at 2:36 a.m. He refused to take a Breathalyzer exam, but was arrested by a Virginia state trooper after conducting a field sobriety test.

"I had already put it behind me a long time ago," McAlister said at the Fairfax County Judicial Center. "Now, it's officially over."

If McAlister had been convicted or plead guilty to an alcohol-related charge, it would have automatically triggered a mandatory evaluation by a doctor and could have placed him in the first stage of the league's substance-abuse program. A second offense entails a four-game suspension and a third strike carries a mandatory one-year suspension.

"We're pleased with the end result," said Bob Battle, McAlister's lawyer. "This is what Chris maintained all along. This is why you have a trial. Obviously, he still had to go through being arrested and spending a night in jail."

Following the run-in with the law one day after the Ravens' 13-10 preseason win over the Atlanta Falcons, McAlister missed practice at the team's Westminster training camp. He was later fined $5,000 by the team for the unexcused absence.

McAlister, 26, has been fined a total of $10,000 by the Ravens this season, including a $5,000 fine for violating curfew and missing a team meeting before the San Diego Chargers game. He was benched for that contest.

Although McAlister received a subsequent $5,000 fine from the NFL for taunting the Arizona Cardinals during an interception return for a touchdown, he has played some of the best football of his career over the past month. He's regularly assigned to shadow opponents' top receivers.

In Sunday's 9-6 loss to the Miami Dolphins, he held Chris Chambers to four receptions for 34 yards.

Two weeks ago, McAlister stymied Torry Holt, the NFL's leading receiver, for three catches and 38 yards. Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Jimmy Smith's impact was negated. McAlister intercepted former Baltimore starter Jeff Blake twice against Arizona.

For the season, McAlister has 36 tackles, two interceptions and nine pass deflections after signing his one-year franchise tender of $5.962 million.

"When you have a premier guy, you need to put him opposite their premier guy," defensive coordinator Mike Nolan said. "Otherwise, you're not using his talent."

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