On The Sam Hunt Indictment for Drunk Driving

photo: Nashville Metro Police Department

Pop country star Sam Hunt has now been indicted on drunk driving charges by a Davidson County Grand Jury. On November 21st, 2019, Sam Hunt was observed driving the wrong way on Ellington Parkway in Nashville—a principle highway in the eastern part of the city. Hunt was traveling south in the northbound lanes and swerving erratically when multiple witnesses alerted police.

“I’m calling because I was driving on 31E, and there is a car going the wrong direction on the highway,” said one 911 caller. “It was a black SUV. It was on 31E and Trinity. It was driving like there was nothing wrong, and it almost hit me head on. It was just … driving.”

Police initiated a traffic stop where they observed Sam Hunt had bloodshot eyes, and two empty beer cans near him. Instead of providing a Tennessee drivers license, Hunt tried to hand police a credit card and a passport. He also admitted to officers that he had been drinking “recently.” According to a police report, Sam Hunt’s blood alcohol level was .173—over twice the legal limit. Hunt was arrested, and later released from jail on a $2,500 bond, with an initial court date of January 17, 2020.

However, the January 17th date in front of Judge William Higgins at the Davidson County Criminal Court came and went without Sam Hunt making an appearance. The date was then rescheduled to March 17th, which was also delayed, resulting in some wondering when Sam Hunt would be forced to answer to the charges.

“Everything has just been delayed due to COVID,” District Attorney spokesperson Stephen Hayslip tells Saving Country Music. “They’re not having appearances. We don’t have any jury trials set until after January. Everything is just taking a lot longer process because of the situation in the courts.”

After many delays, Sam Hunt was formally indicted on December 10th, and the case has been set in criminal court, though no specific date for his next appearance has been set at this time. Though this move does not guarantee that Sam Hunt will ultimately enter a not guilty plea and attempt to fight the charges at trial, Hunt could have pled guilty earlier to avoid the formal indictment.

“He could have done that at the general sessions level,” Stephen Hayslip explains. “But if your going to fight it, it would go through general sessions, and then it would be given to a judge which would find probable cause, and then at that point it goes to the Grand Jury, they find an indictment, issue a true bill, and now it’s working its way to the criminal court level.”

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