CHARLESTON -- A man avoided a conviction for an offense that would have required prison time when he admitted taking part in a methamphetamine purchase.

Benjamin L. Austin, 40, for whom court records list an address of 412 Oklahoma Ave., Mattoon, pleaded guilty to a methamphetamine possession charge alleging he had the drug on Sept. 10, 2016.

With the agreement reached in his case, a possession with intent to deliver charge was dismissed and he was sentenced to 2 1/2 years of probation. The dismissed charge would have required a six- to 30-year prison term with a conviction.

Records in Austin's case indicate that police conducted a surveillance of a purchase in which he took part in Mattoon and involved the sale of more than three ounces of methamphetamine.

Probation terms included an evaluation for substance abuse treatment and about four months in jail.

Austin was also ordered to pay about $3,500 in fines and court fees and more jail time was stayed. That means he won't have to serve the additional time now but some or all of it could be imposed later in case of probation term violations.

Coles County Circuit Judge Brien O'Brien sentenced Austin by accepting the terms of a plea agreement that Assistant State's Attorney Joy Wolf and defense attorney Todd Reardon recommended.

In other cases in court recently, O'Brien also accepted guilty pleas from:

  • Christopher R. Jones, 34, whose address on record is 1311 Bell Ave., Mattoon, to an aggravated driving under the influence of alcohol charge.

The charge followed a traffic accident in Mattoon on June 17 and was a felony offense because Jones didn't have a valid driver's license at the time.

He was sentenced to two years of probation that included a treatment evaluation and about two months in jail. More jail time was stayed and Jones was also ordered to pay about $1,500 in fines and fees.

The agreement also included dismissal of traffic citations including leaving the scene of an accident.

O'Brien accepted a plea agreement that Assistant State's Attorney Rob Scales and Public Defender Anthony Ortega recommended.

  • Lucas M. Miner, 28, for whom records list an address of 2144 11th St., Apt. 2, Charleston, to a methamphetamine possession charge alleging he had the drug on Nov. 25.

A charge accusing Miner of also having a prescription medication was dismissed and he was placed on probation for two years. Terms included a treatment evaluation, about $1,700 in fines and fees and stayed jail time.

Wolf and Ortega recommended the plea agreement.

  • Mohammed K. Abudhaiba, 28, whose address on record is in Decatur, to a misdemeanor cannabis possession charge alleging marijuana was found in vehicle following a stop for speeding in rural Coles County on Nov. 15, 2016.

A felony charge alleging Abudhaiba also had a prescription medication was dismissed and terms of his two-year probation sentence included a treatment evaluation, about $1,300 in fines and fees and stayed jail time.

Wolf and Ortega recommended the plea agreement.

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