How Long Does It Take To Resolve Drug Related Crimes?
General Timeline To Look At When Charged With A Drug Related Crime
Most of the time in Garret County and the district court, you’re going to see trials come in within 90 to 120 days of the arrest. Those trials could be continued for good cause shown and generally, continuances are never opposed. In continuances, the feelings are generally in a client’s best interest because as time passes, there’s always a chance for evidence to become destroyed.
Police officers get transferred, move on, are retired, and the people become less familiar with what happened on those crimes. If you are cross-examining somebody and you’re trying to find reasonable doubt, it’s usually better to cross-examine somebody 12 months after the crime than 6 hours after the crime.
So you have 60 to 90 days. If you’re looking at a possession with intent to distribute or if you’re looking at a distribution charge, you will generally be given the opportunity for a preliminary hearing. Your attorney will generally take advantage of the right for a preliminary hearing. Those are held within district court, generally fairly quickly after you’re arrested.
It is very important for somebody to request a preliminary hearing within 10 days of the time that they are arrested. They secure that right to that preliminary trial, at which point the state has to basically prove probable cause, and it’s not hard for the state to prove something’s probable cause.
In most cases, usually somebody possessed enough drugs to distribute or somebody actually distributed drugs and they had facts for that. Those things give the attorney an opportunity to conduct early discovery, get a police officer on the stand, hear what they have to say, and get a transcript that you can use later on in the jury trial if it comes to that for all statements the police officer made.
Generally, testimony changes over time. Once a preliminary hearing goes through, the judge has the right to forward this to the circuit court for a jury trial or a judge trial. When you look at the jury and judge’s trial, after your preliminary hearing, the court has 30 days to take that to the circuit court.
Circuit court generally acts fairly quickly in getting people into their first appearance, usually 60 days after that preliminary hearing or after that time period, and scheduling a trial within 180 days of the day the case is presented to them.
So for big felonies you should have a trial within about 7 to 8 months and with misdemeanors you should be having a trial in between 60 and 120 days.
The state has a duty to provide people with a speedy trial, especially in the circuit court. There’s a 180 day rule. The 180 day rule can be broken generally if there’s good cause. If the defendant asks for a continuance or the court has to continue it for a good cause, they can do that, but more than 180 days without any continuances by the defendants generally gives you a good route to get a case dismissed.
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