How Long May It Take to Resolve a Drug-Related Case?

Interviewer: How long could a case potentially last; from minimum to maximum?

Court: I would say some clients want to get through a case really fast and some clients are okay with letting it sit on the background so to speak. It just depends on your situation. Sometimes there is ways we can speed the process up when we need to or slow it down but for the most part we are at the mercy of the courts and how busy they are.

It depends on how complicated your case is. It depends on whether you are going to trial or whether you have many pretrial motions or whether you’re just going to take a plea bargain deal or plead your first appearance.

If You Accept a Plea Bargain, Your Case May Be Resolved in 2 or 3 Months; Going to Trial May Take 6 to 8 Months

For the minimum you’re looking at maybe two to three months, maybe one or two court appearances and that’s if you take a plea bargain and plea out early. Then if you end up going to trial it could be much longer. This is because the trial will take some time just to get to the calendar. After the trial you might have to wait again for a sentencing date so it could be maybe six to eight months, it could last a year or longer sometimes.

There Is a Difference between a Case Being Acquitted and a Case Being Dismissed

Interviewer: What are some ways that cases can get dismissed?

Court: There is a difference between being acquitted and a case being dismissed. When you are acquitted, you go through a trial and you’re found not guilty by the jury. That’s the only way that that happens. If a case is dismissed what that means is that your lawyer did a good job. He or she won some pretrial motion or did really good job and convinced the prosecutor that they didn’t have enough evidence and they dropped the case of their own accord.

A Drug Case Is Typically Dismissed When Issues Arise with Illegal Search and Seizure

When a drug case is dismissed what has happened were search and seizure issues, such as whether a search was reasonable. If the search was unreasonable then legally is there is a doctrine called fruit of the poisonous tree. The evidence that is obtained from a search that was unlawful will be kept out of your case. That means that the prosecutor can’t use that evidence at trial.

If you have a drug possession case and the evidence is the drug that was found but it turns out that the search was unreasonable, that drug cannot be used as evidence in the drug possession case. That makes it very difficult for a prosecutor to convict you of drug possession if they can’t use any drug as evidence.

Usually the prosecutor at that point will dismiss the case because they just don’t have anything to go on in terms of getting you convicted. So if a drug case is dismissed usually that’s the reason; it is because there was a motion to suppress evidence and your lawyer was successful in that motion. Subsequently, the evidence was suppressed and the prosecutor now does not have enough evidence to convict you so they go ahead and dismiss the case to forego the waste of time of trial.

By Court Koehler

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