Illinois high school basketball coach faces drug charge

A 52-year-old high school basketball coach in East St. Louis faces a drug possession charge and was taken into custody on July 2. Reports indicate that he was taken into custody on possession of less than 15 grams of cocaine, which is a felony. An investigation had been ongoing since the March 31 traffic stop in St. Clair County that led to the charge.

According several people who spoke with the news source, the coach is considered a mentor to local youth. He also wrote for the St. Louis American newspaper at one time. Most of those who spoke with the source expressed support for the coach and wished him the best. He has no prior criminal record outside of a few traffic violations and was being held on $20,000 bail.

A conviction on a felony drug charge could lead to a lengthy prison sentence, followed by probation and drug testing. Additionally, one could be sentenced to community service such as producing a PSA about the effects of drug use or talking to young people about the dangers of drugs. Those who are convicted on drug charges may also be required to go to rehab or get counseling in an effort to overcome their substance abuse issues.

In some cases, it may be possible to negotiate a plea deal to help an individual facing felony drug charges avoid their harsh penalties. Under favorable circumstances for a defendant, a plea deal could involve charges being dropped from that person's record if he or she completes a rehab program and stays out of trouble for a length of time determined by a judge. When prosecutors are open to the possibility during a criminal case, defense attorneys can negotiate the specific terms of plea bargains on behalf of their clients.

Source: KSDK, "High school coach charged with drug possession", Kevin S. Held, July 02, 2014

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