NFL star may be prosecuted for domestic assault

NFL fans in Michigan may know Johnny Manziel as a quarterback who can hurt his opponents by both passing and running the ball, but it is the former Heisman Trophy winner's questionable decision making that has been making headlines recently. The Cleveland Browns, who used a first round pick to select Manziel in 2014, insisted that their star quarterback enter a drug and alcohol rehabilitation facility after he behaved erratically during his first season with the team, and news coming out of Dallas on Feb. 25 indicates that the 23-year-old signal caller may face charges of domestic assault.

Police in Dallas announced in a blog post that their investigation into allegations that Manziel assaulted his girlfriend had been completed and the case had been sent to prosecutors. Manziel's girlfriend claims that the quarterback struck her during a quarrel and ruptured an eardrum. He has denied the allegations. The 23-year-old woman is said to have told police that there were moments where she feared for her life during an argument with Manziel that lasted several hours.

The reports are not likely to help restore Manziel's tarnished image, and there are widespread reports indicating that the Browns plan to part company with their first round pick before the 2016 NFL season kicks off. The NFL has been rocked by several recent domestic assault cases involving prominent players, and league officials have been roundly condemned for the light punishments they have handed out.

This case reveals how allegations of domestic violence can have personal and professional repercussions even before charges have been filed. Criminal defense attorneys who have handled this type of case may remind their clients that prosecutors must meet a high burden of proof in order to prevail in court, and they could be persuaded to reduce or dismiss charges when accusations are not backed up by compelling corroborating evidence.