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Chris Culliver working toward preliminary hearing in brass knuckles case

Chris Culliver's legal issue continues to drag along. His attorney is working to set a preliminary hearing date. We break down what this means for his free agency.

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The San Francisco 49ers went through a variety of legal issues last season, and all but one have effectively wrapped themselves up. On Wednesday, cornerback Chris Culliver was in court to set a preliminary hearing date for his brass knuckles case. Culliver faces a felony charge of possession of brass knuckles and two misdemeanor charges of failing to stop at the scene of an accident, in connection with a hit-and-run incident last March.

The Wednesday hearing was reportedly to set a date for a preliminary hearing. I am not finding any results of the hearing, so I'll keep an eye out for specifics. The preliminary likely would not be in the next couple weeks, which likely means he will have the hearing sometime after NFL free agency gets started on March 10.

The question now is how this will impact his free agency. Possession of brass knuckles in California is a wobbler offense, which means the DA can elect to charge as either a misdemeanor or a felony. Conviction on a misdemeanor means up to one year in county jail and/or a maximum $1,000 fine. Conviction on a felony means up to three years in county jail and/or a maximum $10,000 fine. My guess is the DA went with the felony charge to get a little more leverage in plea negotiations.

In this morning's Golden Nuggets, Poldarn mentioned that this likely means Cully gets no more than a one-year deal in free agency. That would make sense, although it is possible Cully's attorney could get something negotiated fairly quickly. If something gets figured out in the first week or two of free agency, there still could be room for a multi-year deal for Cully after the initial couple surges of free agency. However, if Cully's legal issue moves beyond March, a one-year deal would not be surprising.