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How Long Might It Take to Resolve a Drug Case?

Interviewer: How long could a case potentially last before it is resolved?

Drug Cases Can Be Resolved in 6 Months or Several Years

Brian Geno: I’ve had cases before that lasted over a year from start to finish, from the time the person committed the offense until finally they were either sentenced or acquitted can be many months. That case was a serious felony that had a potential of 20 years in jail and that case was probably the shortest I’ve ever done. It was as far as a serious felony and it was resolved in six months and it resulted in a jury trial.

My client was acquitted and the fact that he was acquitted certainly shortened it, but if the person is convicted, that definitely prolongs the case. I’ve had other case that went on for almost two years. One client who is charged with illegal distribution of prescription drugs and as a result to that, hundreds of people received the drugs and some even died. That case was very intense and it took an awfully long time to finish that one.

It varies depending on the severity but a person should not expect for it to be over in a relatively short time unless they get very lucky.

When Might a Drug Case Be Dismissed?

Interviewer: What are some ways that drug cases are dismissed?

Were There Issues with the Police Stop or Arrest?

Brian Geno: Probably the biggest defenses that we use to get cases dismissed relate to those issues about search and seizure, probable cause, and questioning. Those are all constitutional defenses and you see cases get dismissed that way. Those are big ones. Of course, the diversion program that we talked about earlier, that one is a way that cases can get a form of dismissal. They’re not perfectly dismissed, but they’re sort of dismissed that way.

Problems with Witnesses for the Prosecution

Other ones involve other kinds of police mistakes, lack of evidence, that sort of thing. I had a case just the other day where eyewitness wasn’t properly prepared and couldn’t identify the defendant. That was a key element of the prosecution and the case got dismissed because of that.

You can’t make that happen, you feel lucky as a defense attorney when that does happen because they could have fixed so easily, but government witness mistakes is an area that is a common reason for a dismissal too.