(Reuters) - Detroit Piston Ben Wallace was sentenced on Tuesday to one-year probation plus community service and fines, avoiding jail time in a drunk driving conviction that stemmed from a traffic stop last September.
Wallace, 37, who lives in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan was stopped for erratic driving early on a Saturday morning by police in a suburban area northwest of Detroit and later failed a breath test.
Police also found an unloaded handgun stowed in a backpack in the passenger compartment of the Cadillac Escalade Wallace was driving and charged him initially with carrying a concealed weapon, a felony that calls for up to five years in prison.
Wallace pleaded guilty November 1 to drunk driving and a lesser charge of possession of a firearm while intoxicated before Oakland County Circuit Court Judge Shalina Kumar. Those misdemeanors carry maximum sentences of 93 days in jail.
Kumar sentenced Wallace to probation, 30 hours of community service and fines. Wallace's attorney, Steven Fishman, had expected a sentence that would not include jail time when he pleaded guilty.
Wallace won an NBA championship with the Pistons in 2004 and has played for several teams over 17 years. He played in 54 games last season for Detroit, averaging 2.9 points per game.
His arrest on September 24 came while National Basketball Association players were locked out by league officials in a labor dispute. That dispute has been resolved and the NBA is scheduled to begin a shortened regular season on December 25.
(Reporting by David Bailey; Editing by Greg McCune)