Winnipeg Jets defenceman Dustin Byfuglien celebrates his second-period goal during NHL action on Thurs., Feb. 23, 2012 at the MTS Centre in Winnipeg.
Credits: JASON HALSTEAD/QMI AGENCY
Byfuglien entered his plea Monday morning in a Minneapolis courtroom, moments before his jury trial was set to begin.
The Stanley Cup-winning Byfuglien, who hails from Roseau, MN, ultimately admitted he didn't have proper lighting on his boat and was careless and endangering other people's property as a result.
Hennepin County Judge Ronald Abrams sentenced Byfuglien to a $1,000 US fine and 30 days in the Minnesota "workhouse" -- a community-based corrections program where offenders do community service work like collecting trash.
Abrams suspended 28 of the workhouse days for one year, meaning if Byfuglien stays out of trouble, he'll only have to serve two.
The judge rejected a request to allow Byfuglien to satisfy his workhouse time through hockey-related charitable work and signing autographs, saying the NHL fan favourite should be treated "like everybody else."
"I said from the get-go Mr. Byfuglien was not under the influence of drugs, not under the influence of alcohol," defence lawyer Mitchell Robinson said Monday, moments after he and Byfuglien walked out of a Minneapolis courtroom.
"It's a fair resolution of the case," he said.
On leaving court with his agent, Byfuglien offered no comment but said, "yeah," when asked if he was relieved to see his much-publicized legal case over with.
Byfuglien admitted Monday he had no navigation lights on his boat and was endangering the safety of others when police stopped him on Lake Minnetonka on Aug. 31, 2011.
He also faced more serious charges of boating while intoxicated and refusing to submit to a police blood or urine test. A preliminary breath test done at the scene showed he blew .03 - far less than the state's legal limit of .08.
Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff expressed relief.
"The Winnipeg Jets are happy this is behind Dustin and he can look forward to the upcoming hockey season, along with the rest of the team and their passionate fan base," Cheveldayoff said in a statement.