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Former Wisconsin coach, principal takes plea deal in drug case

Although national public opinion of marijuana appears to be shifting toward greater acceptance, with some states legalizing the drug under certain circumstances, drug laws in Wisconsin haven't. People caught manufacturing, possessing or distributing marijuana can still face harsh penalties, including lengthy prison sentences. But having effective legal representation can make a significant difference in how your case is handled.

Last February we told you about the arrest of an elementary school principal and coach from Antigo, a town of about 8,000 people in central Wisconsin. He and several other teachers in the area were arrested on multiple drug charges, all having to do with marijuana. The former principal, who resigned after he was charged last winter, was expected to go to trial this week to face seven felony counts. But on the day the trial was to begin he accepted a plea agreement in exchange for the dismissal of some of the charges.

Under the terms of the agreement the principal pleaded guilty to one account of manufacturing marijuana with the intent to deliver. The rest of the charges were dismissed. The prosecuting attorney agreed not to push for state prison time when the principal is sentenced in March. Instead, the former school administrator is likely to spend six months in the Langlade County jail, followed by three years of probation, though a judge will ultimately decide whether that sentence is appropriate.

Fourteen others have been charged in connection with the drug case. Some have already been convicted and sentenced to jail, and four others have yet to face their charges. They too may be able to avoid the harshest penalties by working with an experienced defense attorney to either reach a plea agreement or convince a jury at trial that they are not guilty.

Source: WTAQ.com, "Former Antigo football coach, principal pleads guilty in teacher marijuana ring," Jan. 15, 2013

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