Hockey Hall of Famer Ray Bourque was sentenced to one year of probation on Wednesday after entering an "admission to sufficient facts" plea to a charge of drunk driving.
The former Boston Bruins star also was handed a 45-day suspension of his driver’s license in addition to a mandatory 180-day suspension for refusing to take a breathalyzer test on scene. He must attend drug and alcohol education classes as well.
The sentence falls in line with state standards for first offenses.
Admission to sufficient facts is not the same as an admission of guilt, but it is tantamount to admitting that the prosecution has sufficient evidence to obtain a guilty verdict. SI.com legal expert Michael McCann says there were at least three main advantages for Bourque in pleading this way.
"Bourque avoids a guilty plea or a guilty verdict, which is important in terms of avoiding a criminal record with a guilty plea or verdict on it," he said. "Avoiding a guilty plea/verdict is similarly valuable for Bourque in terms mitigating any adverse consequences to Bourque's insurance policies and limiting impact on his ability to travel to and from other countries.
"Bourque's case is now continued without a guilty finding, which would impose a more severe punishment than what Bourque now faces. [And] assuming that Bourque complies with the judge's instructions, the judge will dismiss the case around this time next year."
According to the police report, Bourque was arrested at 11:30 pm on June 24 after he rear-ended a mini-van with his Mercedes-Benz. Authorities say Bourque admitted on scene to "having a few drinks." A test administered later revealed his blood alcohol level was .249, more than three times the legal limit.
Bourque pleaded not guilty in his first court appearance last week, but changed his plea on Wednesday.
“I am willingly complying with every directive issued by the court," he said in a statement released after his sentencing. "I take full responsibility for my actions and I will not seek nor take any short cuts. I want to apologize to the young people that I bumped in the vehicle ahead of me. I am thankful that no one was hurt.
"I have always lived my life dedicated to doing the best I can for myself and those around me. I have always strived for perfection but as we all know, my actions a few weeks ago were far from perfect. I know that I have let my family, friends, fans, the community and myself down. I apologize to all of you.
"I am sorry. I have begun to take the steps necessary to live my life in a better way. As always, I will learn from my mistakes and I will continue to focus on the positive impact I can have in the community and for those around me."