UNC's Hairston cleared of charges from June arrest
North Carolina basketball star P.J. Hairston will not face charges stemming from last month’s arrest.
Hairston, who led UNC in scoring last season, was stopped at a traffic checkpoint on June 5 and charged with possession of less than one-half ounce of marijuana and driving without a license.
He was scheduled to be in Durham County Criminal District Court on Aug. 6, but Assistant District Attorney Shamieka L. Rhinehart dismissed the charges on Friday.
The dismissal notice stated that Hairston obtained a drug assessment “and completed the assessment, therefore, the State does not wish to proceed based on these actions.” Hairston was also able to show that he had a valid license.
Hairston was driving a rented SUV when police found 2.1 grams of marijuana inside of the vehicle and charged Hairston, 20, along with passengers Miykael Faulcon and Carlos Sanford, with possession of marijuana. Those charges still stand against Faulcon and Sanford, according to court records.
Police also found 41 grams of marijuana and a 9 mm gun outside of the vehicle, but no one was charged for possessing those two items.
Durham County District Attorney Leon Stanback said Hairston was not treated any differently than anyone else charged with possessing a small amount of marijuana and the same record.
Hillsborough attorney Sam Coleman represented Hairston and came to the assistant district attorney last week and showed her that Hairston had completed the drug assessment.
“I told (Rhinehart) to do whatever she does in other cases,” Stanback said.
A drug assessment is basically an interview in which the assessor asks the defendant questions about drug and alcohol use and family history in order to determine whether the person may have a drug problem. Generally, when someone goes to court on a marijuana charge, the judge orders the person to get an assessment and treatment if recommended.
Hairston’s dismissal notice filed with the court clerk did not give the results of the assessment.
Sanford and Faulcon could also have their charges dismissed if they have a similar lack of criminal history, Stanback said.
“We treat them all the same if their backgrounds and records are the same,” he said.
Although the criminal charges against Hairston were dismissed, his problems may not be over. The SUV Hairston was driving had been rented by convicted felon Haydn “Fats” Thomas, who is now reportedly under investigation by federal authorities.
Hairston was also pulled over for speeding in May while driving a car that had been rented by Catinia Farrington, who lives with Thomas in Durham.
Hairston’s use of the cars could be deemed an impermissible benefit by the NCAA, which would force the rising junior to be suspended for a portion of the upcoming season.
UNC could also hand down its own punishment. Coach Roy Williams did not comment on Monday, but he said last week in a statement that Hairston made “serious mistakes and there will be serious consequences as a result.”