TAMPA, Fla. -- This isn't going to be a regular mid-season, Game-52-of-the-schedule type-day for Dustin Byfuglien.
Yes, while the Jets' big defenceman gears up for a return to the lineup after being out since late December with a knee injury, his lawyer Mitchell Robinson will be meeting with the judge and prosecutor in Minneapolis in a settlement conference as the court case stemming from boating charges last summer takes the next step.
Byfuglien was charged last Aug. 31 for boating while intoxicated, without navigational lights and proper flotation devices for the passengers on board and for refusing a blood or urine test.
"It's a chance for me to meet with the prosecutor and the judge and talk about ways to try and settle the case," Robinson said Wednesday afternoon. "Most cases are settled at the settlement conference, probably about 85 per cent of them. I'm hoping we can hammer out something that everybody can live with, but if we don't work out something favourable, we set the case for trial."
If Robinson can negotiate something favourable for Byfuglien, the settlement conference would continue for about 30 days while he explained to his client the details of the offer and what his options might be as well as the consequences for accepting a deal.
"I'll try to negotiate the best deal I possibly can and then say to him, 'Dustin, you can accept this offer or you can reject it and we can set a trial date,' " Robinson said. "If we can negotiate something along the line of not having the required number of flotation devices in his boat and pay a $100 fine, then I would strongly urge him to take that settlement and move on.
"If they say they want him to plead guilty for refusing to take a chemical test, then I'm going to encourage him to set the case for trial."