That depends on the specific charge, but most offenses carry a six- year limitations period. The clock stops if you leave the jurisdiction on a permanent basis, or if you default once process is issued.
The best advice I give motorists is to be respectful to the officer or Trooper when being stopped. In close cases like yours, this can often be the difference between a warning and a citation. Even if you get a citation, continue to be polite. Officers remember unruly or disrespectful motorists, and may mark your citation such that they and their colleagues are sure to fight you during your appeal.
Assuming you have followed this advice on the road, your next step is the first-level...
Armed robbery in Massachusetts is a life felony. The maximum inthe District Court, if you are not indicted and the charges are reduced to Larceny from a Person, is 2 1/2 years. If you have no record, you will not realstically face these maximums, but there they are. You should understand that no judge that I know takes these cases lightly, whether yours was a bb gun or a firearm.
In Massachusetts, the "no-fix" law requires police issue motor vehicle citations at the scene of an incident or as soon as the driver's identity is ascertainable. If you don't receive a citation almost immediately, you have a very strong case for dismissal. Also, you cannot be proven to be the operator if a vehicle simply because it is registered to you. The law requires additional evidence that you were the operator, such as an identification witness.
Here is what happens when a record is sealed:
“When a District Court or its Clerk or Probation Officer is required to seal a criminal or juvenile record or entry pursuant to statute, the following procedure shall be followed in each department:
“1. Index cards. If all of the information on an index card is to be sealed, the card shall be permanently removed from the index and placed with the pertinent case papers.
“If only part of the information on the index card is to be sealed, the...
Sealing your record is always a good idea. A sealed case disappears from view on your CORI.
For the purposes of sealing your record a CWOF is no different than guilty.
Here is a great guide. Sealing is in the last section. In sum, for a felony you must wait fifteen years and not obtain another conviction/CWOF in the interim.
"Upon application, Commissioner of Probation shall seal record...
First, you should really be more careful about what you disclose on this site. You are making admissions that could possibly be linked to you.
You have several viable issue to raise in a Motion to Suppress, beginning with the reason for the motor vehicle stop, the reason for the exit-order and the reason for searching a closed container (your backpack) in your car.
Your attorney should be pursing radio transmissions tapes, the Trooper's computer records and other data.
Follow Attorney Casale's advice. These cases are typically resolved by way of a dismissal if you agree to pay court costs (usually $100-$200). Save your money and negotiate this deal yourself with the Assistant District Attorney, and pursue counsel only if they refuse.
I assume that you have no prior arrests or criminal record.
Under the former criminal Possession of Class D statute, you could be charged (and convicted) as long as there was a measurable amount of marijuana. I have no reason to think that this would not be the rule under the brand new civil infraction statute. If the bowl contained residue sufficient to be detected and tested, the officer was probably within his powers to issue the citation.
In any event, appeal the ticket. Argue both the bad stop and search of your vehicle (I assume there were...