The traffic violations were driving on a suspend license, driving with 1 headlight, and no proof of insurance in the vehicle. The marijuana charge was turned into a felony because neither I nor the arresting officer was aware of the .08 gram that was found in my pocket mixed with lent found during intake. So now i have a felony drug conviction Pending and i can't get a job. Is there anything i can do to expedite the arraignment process. Gwinnett County is telling me it may take a year to go to trail on this. I mean whatever happened to due process? What are my chances of getting this thrown out?
If it is less than 1 oz of marijuana, then it should not be a felony charge. All other charges you describe are also misdemeanors, so your case should go to Gwinnett County State Court. That court is extremely backed-up. Unfortunately, you cannot file a speedy trial demand until the prosecutor files the charge with the court, which is likely at least 6 months away. Am I interested in why you believe the charge has turned into a felony. Can you post additional information? Your question regrading getting the case thrown out can only be answered by meeting with a lawyer and outlining all of the facts and circumstances surrounding your arrest. Most lawyers in and around Gwinnett Courty will meet with a potential client at no cost to determine if they can help you. I suggest you use the AVVO site to identify lawyers in your area and contact them.
You may have a chance of getting some of the charges reduced or dismissed, and, depending on the exact charge and your criminal record, obtaining a conditional discharge for the drug possession. I recommend your hiring a criminal defense lawyer to review the case, any defenses you may have, as well as your options in resolving this matter. Once the charges are filed in court, there can be ways to speed the process up, though that's not always the best route to take.
I wish you the best.
I would agree with Mr. Hawkins. Based on the facts you presented, you should be charged with solely misdemeanor violations. However, there may be some additional information that would indicate felony charges are justified. Regardless, if your goal is to have this case dismissed or reduced to a non-DUI charge, you should consult with qualified attorneys in your area. Cases in Gwinnett county can take some time to get to trial, but there are ways a DUI defense attorney can help you expedite this process or even conclude it with a favorable result before trial. You may have some issues regarding your license at this time so it is imperative you speak to an attorney within ten business days of arrest to ensure your privilege to drive will not have further ramifications. Good luck.
Having the drugs on you during intake tends to really tick off the cops, and that is why they charged this and it would be a felony under any circumstances. However, given the small amount and your explanation, you may be able to get the charges lowered or even beat the felony charge at trial. It does take a long time to get to trial in Gwinnett, and you cannot file a speedy trial demand until the case is indicted. The fact that you were just charged and not yet convicted would not normally prevent you from being able to apply to grad school, and I doubt the prosecutor would be looking for jail time for this charge in any case, so going ahead and starting school should not be a problem. If you want to get this resolved sooner than later, you should go and sit down with a criminal defense attorney who has been around the block in Gwinnett. He or she would know the prosecutors and could possibly go and meet with them outside of court, give them the circumstances, and see if something could be worked out without the charges just hanging around. Otherwise, because it was originally charged as a felony, you have to wait for the case to end up on a prosecutor's desk and for it to be placed on the list for cases to go before the grand jury, which only convenes every few months. The last drug case I had in Gwinnett took two years just to be indicted.
The chances of a straight dismissal are probably slim. What is your criminal history? With a good educational background and a good criminal history your chances of a reduction to a misdemeanor are probably pretty good. You might even be able to get it transferred down from Superior Court to State Court prior to arraignment depending on the DA. 6 months for an indictment and a year for trial is, unfortunately, pretty standard for the metro Atlanta area and has not been construed as a delay of due process as of yet (usually after a year is when you start to get a good argument). It's actually worse in Dekalb and Fulton. In the event that they won't bump it down there may be a variety of diversionary options available to you, most of which allow you to keep this off of your record as long as you jump through some hoops. I am based in Alpharetta but do some work in Gwinnett. You are welcome to contact me to discuss this issue further.
Attorney at Law
Your felony is for crossing the guard lines with a controlled substance. If the amount was indeed .08 grams the DA will probably not indict this case a a felony. If he does, most competent attornies could probably get the DA to reduce this to a misdemeanor. If it is reduced to a misdemeanor you can plead under the conditional discharge statutes which provides that if you successfully complete probation you will not have a conviction on your record and , probably more importantly will allow you to keep your driver's license.
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