Massachusetts fans of former Cowboys defensive end Greg Hardy may have heard that he was facing drug-related charges. On Sept. 26, his car was searched in Dallas during a traffic stop. Officers found what they believed to be cocaine, but Hardy said he did not know why it was in his car.

After testing, it was found that the baggie had .7 ounces of the drug. This left Hardy vulnerable to felony drug charges and up to two years in prison. He could also be paying up to $10,000 in fines. Six weeks later, he was indicted for a felony count of cocaine possession.

It is not the first time Hardy has run into legal problems. In 2014, his ex-girlfriend alleged that he had thrown her into a bathtub and dragged her around by her hair. However, after being convicted in a bench trial, he appealed, and when his ex-girlfriend would not cooperate with the district attorney, the charges were dropped.

Sentencing for drug possession and similar charges can be severe even for first-time offenders. People who are facing such charges may want to discuss their options for defense or a plea bargain with an attorney. For example, the defendant may have been illegally searched, and this could lead to some evidence or even the charges being dismissed altogether. People might plead not guilty and argue that the drugs did not belong to them, or they might opt for a plea bargain in which they plead guilty to lesser charges. Those who choose the latter alternative should be certain they understand the implications of that choice since some plea bargains in drug cases still carry relatively severe sentences.

Source: CBS Sports, “Ex-Cowboy Greg Hardy indicted on felony count of cocaine possession,” John Breech, Nov. 7, 2016