If Khloé Kardashian Odom's husband is convicted of DUI and refusal to take a chemical sobriety test, both misdemeanors, he could be sentenced to anywhere from 96 hours to a maximum six months in jail and a nine-month substance abuse program in addition to being required to pay various fees and penalties, criminal defense attorney Troy Slaten tells E! News.
Slaten, who does not represent Odom, said that the NBA player could also be slapped with a six-month license suspension to run concurrent with the one-year suspension secured by California Highway Patrol.
Unless he can present a strong defense, it would be in Odom's interest to strike a plea deal sooner rather than later, Slaten advised, because it could mean three months of a substance abuse program instead of nine if, as part of a deal, the refusal charge is dropped and Odom pleads no contest to DUI.
If, that is, prosecutors give Odom that choice.
"Sometimes if you plead no contest sooner, the prosecution will give you the incentive of dropping the refusal charge as opposed to having them put on a drawn-out trial," explained Slaten. "But because of the high-profile nature of this case, they may be less willing to do that. Because all eyes are going to be on this."
If the 33-year-old athlete, who played for the L.A. Clippers last season, were his client, Slaten said, he would encourage him to check into rehab as soon as possible.
"It only looks good for him to seek treatment," Slaten said. "It looks like you are addressing it before the court, before you are being forced to. It looks good to do it on your own. I usually recommend a client start going to AA meetings right away."
That advice stacks right up with the wishes of Odom's family. A source told E! News today that Khloé and the rest of the family are urging him to seek treatment.
As for the arrest, "Khloé has been trying so, so hard to keep him from hitting a bottom like this," an insider told us. "But if this is what needed to happen, then this is what needed to happen."
Meanwhile, though the CHP confirmed earlier today that Odom's driver's license had been suspended for a year, Slaten said that it's actually standard practice to issue a 30-day temporary license to someone who has refused to take a chemical test while he decides whether to appeal the suspension to the DMV.
If he signals that he's contesting the decision, he could still end up being able to drive for perhaps two more months while he waits on a hearing and a decision from the DMV. If Team Odom can prove that his refusal was for a valid reason, the DMV could decide not to suspend his license.
However, if Odom opts not to appeal, the one-year suspension will go into effect immediately once his decision is made known.
A court date has been set for Sept. 27. Because the charges are misdemeanors, Odom has the option to just have an attorney appear on his behalf.