Cornerback Chris Culliver is facing one felony charge and two misdemeanor charges after last month's hit-and-run incident involving a bicyclist in San Jose.
Culliver, 25, was charged with felony possession of metal knuckles, which carries up to a three-year prison sentence. He also was charged with misdemeanor hit and run with injury as well as misdemeanor hit and run, which have one-year maximum sentences.
The Santa Clara District Attorney's office today said it was unaware of any criminal activity in Culliver's past, which likely means he will not serve a maximum sentence and could avoid jail time altogether. The bicyclist, who was knocked down while crossing an intersection on March 28, was treated and released on the day of the incident.
Notably, Culliver was not charged for threatening the witness who followed Culliver in his vehicle after the encounter with the bicyclist. The initial media reports said that after the witness tried to block Culliver's white Ford Mustang to prevent him from leaving, Culliver got out of his car, threatened the witness with brass knuckles and then got back in the car and fled. A situation like that typically would result in a charge of "criminal threats," but that did not happen in this case.
Brass knuckles later were discovered in Culliver's car by San Jose Police. Deputy District Attorney Jaron Shipp said that the district attorney's office will continue to investigate the case.
If the NFL decides to punish the fourth-year cornerback, it likely would not do so until the legal process runs its course. Culliver is due to appear in court for an arraignment hearing on Friday.
He and Tramaine Brock are the frontrunners to start at cornerback in 2014. General manager Trent Baalke also said that Culliver - as well as Brock, Eric Wright and Perrish Cox - is a candidate to slip inside to slot cornerback when opponents bring out three or more receivers. The 49ers also are expected to draft a cornerback next month, perhaps in the first round.
- Matt Barrows