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Rick Stroud, Greg Auman and Matt Baker

Da'Quan Bowers cleared of New York gun charges

The Bucs let starting left end Michael Bennett sign with the Seahawks, leaving Da'Quan Bowers, above, as the likely starter there.

DANIEL WALLACE | Times

The Bucs let starting left end Michael Bennett sign with the Seahawks, leaving Da'Quan Bowers, above, as the likely starter there.

11

April

The Bucs have one less headache on defense heading into the 2013 season.

Charges against third-year defensive end Da’Quan Bowers have been dropped in his gun-possession case in New York, with the projected starting left end tagged with only a disorderly conduct violation in a deal with Queens prosecutors.

Bowers will avoid jail time and any significant penalties with today’s developments.

The news was revealed by Bowers’ attorney, Dennis Coppin, who appeared with Bowers in Queens County court this morning. Bowers was responsible for paying only a $250 fine and court costs of $125, which he already has addressed.

Bowers will have no criminal record, Coppin said. In New York, a “violation” is not treated criminally, making it tantamount to a speeding ticket, according to the attorney. Coppin said Bowers’ taking the gun into LaGuardia Airport in February was an honest mistake resulting from his ignorance of New York’s stringent gun laws.

The gun was legally purchased and owned in Florida, Coppin said, and had been unintentionally brought into the city in checked luggage when Bowers and his girlfriend arrived days earlier.

“The D.A.’s office did a full and fair investigation,” Coppin said in a phone interview. “. . . (Bowers) had no intent whatsoever. He gave the firearm to the first TSA officer he saw. It was a total mistake and the prosecution, thankfully, saw that.”

The result of the case is not a surprise. Cases involving out-of-state visitors caught with firearms in New York airports are common, attorneys say, and often result in drastically reduced charges. Bowers was initially charged with criminal possession in the second degree, a crime that comes with a minimum sentence of 3 1/2 years in state prison.

But the Bucs' optimism since Bowers' arrest suggested Bowers would see a favorable conclusion. The Bucs let starting left end Michael Bennett sign with the Seahawks, making only a minimal effort to retain him. That left Bowers as the likely starter there, assuming his case was resolved and did not prevent him from playing.

Despite the anticipated positive result, Bowers was thrilled with the news.

“He was very happy that they looked into his case and gave a fair decision,” Coppin said.

The NFL could still consider discipline against Bowers, but the lack of a conviction and the apparent lack of intent should be enough to allow him to escape further discipline.

[Last modified: Thursday, April 11, 2013 12:15pm]

    

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