Pistons center Ben Wallace appeared in a Michigan court on Oct. 3, 2011, after being charged with illegally carrying a concealed firearm -- a felony. If convicted, he could face up to five years in prison on the single charge, but he could also be sentenced to 93 days of incarceration if convicted on a misdemeanor operating while intoxicated charge.
The pending criminal charges against the basketball star were filed after police allegedly observed him driving in an erratic manner at approximately 3 a.m. on in late September. He was pulled over while operating a 2007 Cadillac Escalade.
Police claim Wallace was initially arrested for intoxicated driving, but officers then proceeded to search his car. While it is unknown what evidence of intoxicated driving they hoped to find, police allegedly found a pistol concealed in a backpack in the car's passenger compartment. The weapon was not loaded, although a magazine filled with ammunition was also discovered.
The 37-year-old basketball player was transported to a police facility, where police demanded he take a breath test. The result was a finding of a blood alcohol content in excess of the legal limit.
He reportedly told police that the gun belonged to his wife and that he had carried it in the backpack for protection. He claimed to have forgotten that the weapon was in the backpack or in the car.
Wallace may suffer severe damage to his reputation, even if he is acquitted.
While it is undeniable that this NBA star has the financial resources to come back from a felony charge, not everyone does. Anyone convicted or even arrested on a felony charge may have to deal with numerous negative aftereffects -- fewer employment opportunities; fewer opportunities for career advancement; and difficulty finding housing, applying for loans, and developing social relationships.
Source: Daily Tribune, "Pistons' Ben Wallace waives exam in drunk driving, weapons case," Karen Workman, Oct. 3, 2011