Florida NFL fans may be aware that former Cowboys and Panthers player Greg Hardy was taken into custody on Sept. 26 on drug-related charges. He was stopped by police in Dallas, and when they searched his car, they found a bag that had what they believed to be cocaine in it. Hardy denied any knowledge of how the cocaine had gotten in his car.
Since the bag allegedly contained .7 grams of cocaine, the charge against Hardy carried a fine under Texas law of up to $10,000 and as much as two years in prison. Six weeks after the traffic stop, he was indicted on one felony count of possession of cocaine.
The 28-year-old former player had legal trouble in 2014 and 2015 as well. In 2014, his ex-girlfriend accused him of domestic violence. Although Hardy was convicted in a bench trial, he appealed, and in 2015, after his ex-girlfriend ceased cooperating with the district attorney, the charges were dropped.
Even first-time drug charges can be serious, and a person may be facing a long sentence even for possession of relatively minor amounts. There may be other consequences as well. People in a public position may face suspension or lose their job entirely. A student’s financial aid could be in peril. While a plea bargain may be an option in some cases, people may still be facing severe penalties. However, there might be other avenues of defense. For example, a criminal defense attorney might look into whether the search that led to the seizure of the drugs was carried out in a constitutional manner. If it was not, then the evidence might be deemed inadmissible, and that could lead to the charge being dropped.
Source: CBS Sports, “Ex-Cowboy Greg Hardy indicted on felony count of cocaine possession,” John Breech, Nov. 7, 2016