ATHENS — Georgia linebacker Natrez Patrick has a court date for a probation violation in January after an arrest in another county triggered a government drug test that came up positive, Athens-Clarke County solicitor C.R. Chisholm said on Friday.
The test was administered after Patrick, on probation for an October misdemeanor marijuana arrest in Athens, was arrested in Barrow County on Dec. 2 for misdemeanor marijuana possession. That charge was dismissed on Thursday, and Patrick’s lawyer says Patrick passed a UGA-administered drug test within hours of the Dec. 2 arrest.
The Barrow County arrest triggered a probation violation in Athens-Clarke County, and Chisholm said the subsequent drug test was standard in such situations. Chisholm said the positive drug test, which came a few days after the Barrow County arrest, was still considered “an allegation” that Patrick has a right to contest at the hearing on Jan. 11.
“He has a right to deny the allegation and go forward with the hearing,” Chisholm said.
Billy Healan, Patrick’s lawyer, declined to discuss any probation-related drug test, saying that by Georgia law those should be confidential until the hearing.
“I am certainly not going to confirm that Natrez took a probation test or failed a probation test,” Healan said. “None of that should be public record regardless.”
The probation hearing will be in an open forum, according to Chisholm, so anything said there would be public.
Healan said the drug test that Patrick took from UGA came “within hours” of leaving the Barrow County Jail.
“Natrez took an official University of Georgia test within a few hours that he bonded out of jail, which he passed, which was negative,” Healan said. “So that indicates, one, that he was not using marijuana on the night he was arrested. That case is behind us anyway, as it’s already been dismissed.”
UGA officials did not respond to requests for comment on Friday afternoon.
Patrick has two previous marijuana arrests, both misdemeanors in Athens: in October and two years ago. Patrick served a four-game suspension midway through this season following the second arrest, per UGA’s student-athlete handbook.
A third violation of UGA’s current handbook would mean automatic dismissal, unless the handbook is tweaked to allow some leeway.
Healan said his position was UGA should only discipline a student-athlete based on one of its tests.
“As far as action by the University of Georgia, it’s my position that the university can only take action against a student-athlete if they fail an official University of Georgia or NCAA test,” Healan said. “That the UGA athletic association substance abuse policy has various procedural guidelines and standards that are required to be followed when an athlete is subjected to an official test. One of them being that any positive test result has to be confirmed on a more accurate, reliable machine.”
The most recent marijuana possession charge against Patrick was dropped on Thursday, nearly two weeks after he and teammate Jayson Stanley were arrested in Barrow County. There was only a small amount of marijuana found in the car, and Stanley took responsibility for it. Stanley, a junior reserve receiver, pleaded guilty to misdemeanor marijuana possession but had DUI and speeding charges dropped.
Patrick has started seven games this season, coming off the bench in the other two he was eligible. He ranks fifth on the team with 36 tackles.
NextPath to the Playoff: Deep South