Things have been looking bright for Tyler Thigpen following his November arrest on drunken driving charges.
The Coastal Carolina alumnus signed with the Cleveland Browns two days before Christmas. Then he got engaged.
And that DUI charge from Nov. 23? It’s been dismissed and likely headed for expungement, said Thigpen’s attorney Jonny McCoy.
The charges were dismissed at a preliminary hearing held Jan. 8. Horry County magistrate Derek Blanton presided.
“We appreciate the patience of the mass amount of community support,” McCoy said Monday. “It just didn’t seem like the guy that everyone had come to know and love throughout the years and we’re grateful for their patience.”
Thigpen, 30, of Myrtle Beach, was charged with DUI after police found him in a vehicle parked in the Wendy’s at Mr. Joe White Avenue. The charge was dismissed because police recorded video, but not audio from Thigpen’s arrest, McCoy said.
That’s important for two reasons. McCoy said state law requires most DUI arrests to be recorded so that Miranda rights are captured on film. It’s also important in case the defendant makes any exculpatory statements.
With no audio available, the case had to be dismissed, McCoy said.
“In a nutshell, the audio portion is required so that a jury would be able to hear my client’s speech,” he said. “It’s hard to just look at somebody without audio and determine whether or not that person has reached the level of intoxication that they couldn’t operate an automobile.”
McCoy said his client is in the process of obtaining an expungement, which wipes out any record of the arrest, as if it never happened.
He also said Thigpen recently became engaged. That coupled with his recent NFL success, the future is looking bright for the free agent.
“His life is certainly heading in the right direction with the engagement, signing of an NFL contract and as far as Tyler’s emotions, I think that more than anything he was grateful the vast majority of the community stuck by him and patiently waited for the outcome rather than rushing to judgment,” McCoy said.
Thigpen signed with the Browns in the preseason, but was waived.
The Browns resigned him and activated former South Carolina quarterback Connor Shaw from the practice squad when starters Brian Hoyer and Johnny Manziel got hurt.
Thigpen is a seven-year veteran of the NFL. He’s played for Kansas City, Minnesota, Buffalo and Miami. He was the 217th overall draft pick when Minnesota signed him in 2007.
Thigpen’s best season was 2008, when he threw 18 touchdowns against 12 interceptions while with the Kansas City Chiefs.
He also rushed for 386 yards, scoring three touchdowns, that year.