CLINTON — A Clinton man who claims to have no recollection of his arrest on a felony drug charge — due to a later ATV accident — was granted a deferred judgment.

Dillon J. Schnitzler, 27, 421 Fourth Ave. North, appeared Thursday in Clinton County District Court for sentencing for possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver, namely methamphetamine, a class C felony.

Assistant Clinton County Attorney James McHugh recommended the court grant Schnitzler a suspended sentence, citing the recommendation of the Pre-Sentence Investigation report and the agreement in the plea agreement. McHugh stated a big issue after the alleged offense was Schnitzler’s motor vehicle accident, which McHugh characterized as a life-altering event. He stated Schnitzler’s life course changed, adding he was a different person before and after the accident.

Defense Attorney Les Blair stated Schnitzler was in a coma for about one month after the ATV accident and doctors did not expect Schnitzler would be able to walk or talk. Blair stated Schnitzler’s present day condition is “somewhat of a miracle.” Blair stated Schnitzler is somewhat of a different person with no memory of the criminal incident. Blair stated Schnitzler does not remember a significant period of time prior to the incident. Blair stated Schnitzler is working, taking care of his family and is a different person than he was prior to the accident. Blair asked the court to follow the recommendation of the PSI report and agreement of the parties and give Schnitzler an opportunity on probation.

District Court Judge Mark Cleve stated the offense, a felony offense, was serious and a charge the court takes seriously. Cleve, citing Schnitzler’s age and lack of significant criminal history, granted Schnitzler a deferred judgment. Cleve placed Schnitzler on probation for two years unless sooner released. A $1,000 civil penalty was suspended. The court dismissed charges of failure to affix Iowa drug tax stamp, a class D felony, carrying weapons, an aggravated misdemeanor and possession of a controlled substance, namely marijuana, a serious misdemeanor, with costs assessed to Schnitzler.

“This is a once and once only opportunity for you to avoid a felony conviction,” Cleve said. “I can’t stress how important that is for you in your current life placement and age.”

According to the affidavit, as Schnitzler’s vehicle was about to be towed away for not being insured, he allegedly asked the officer if he could remove some bags from the vehicle. As Schnitzler walked away with his items, the officer began doing an inventory of the vehicle, and discovered that the center console was broken and pulled apart. As the officer looked under the console, he observed a firearm and multiple baggies of a crystal-like substance associated with methamphetamine.

The affidavit states while searching Schnitzler, the officer located a small baggie of a green leafy substance associated to be marijuana. Fourteen individually packed baggies of a crystal-like substance associated with methamphetamine were inside the vehicle. A loaded handgun was next to the suspected methamphetamine.

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