Well, about 8 months ago I was pulled over and arrested for possession of marijuana (about 8 grams). I have hired a lawyer. He is not too helpful though. I have yet to here of a court date. This whole thing is really holding me back. How long does the police/court have to prosecute me? Any help would be great!
It sounds like you are asking about the statute of limitations. If I recall correctly, the statute of limitations for a misdemeanor is six years. So, assuming you are only being charged with possession (and not possession with intent to distribute, which is a felony) they can charge you at any time within the next six years. It sounds like you haven't been charged yet . . . so I'm curious as to what it is you think your lawyer should do. At this point, (s)he can't talk to the prosecutor about the case because apparently there is no case yet. Your lawyer can let the police and prosecutor know that if charges are eventually issued, that they can just contact him/her to arrange for you to show up at the arraignment (instead of them arresting you), and your lawyer can get as much information from you and any witnesses as possible to be prepared to defend the case if a warrant is ever issued . . . but what else are you expecting your attorney to do?
I would suggest you check with the court to see if a warrant has been issued. (You can usually do this over the telephone, and most district courts in Michigan have their records on-line now.) Sometimes, warrants are issued and nobody notifies the defendant or his attorney . . . meaning both the defendant and his attorney are clueless that it's out there until the defendant is pulled over for speeding or something. (I had this happen to a client of mine; they charged her with welfare fraud in 1992 and she didn't know about it until 2010, when she got pulled over for a bad tail light and suddenly found herself sitting in jail.) That may be what has happened here.
Or, it may very well be that no charges have been issued. I do a lot of drug cases, and it's not entirely unusual for charges to take 10 to 12 months to be issued. The state crime lab is backed up, police departments are overworked and understaffed, and many prosecutors offices have backlogs. Eight months is starting to be on the edge of a "long time", but it's not unheard of.
If no warrant has been issued, it's possible (unlikely, but possible) that either they decided not to prosecute you for one reason or another or that your case fell through the cracks. If that's the case, you may be better off not "poking the bear" and reminding them that the case is out there.
NOTE: This answer is intended for information and educational purposes only and is NOT legal advice. Advice on specific legal matters requires an in-depth discussion of facts that can only be done in private, which is not possible through a website accessible to the public. Also, note that I am only licensed to practice law in Michigan, am not familiar with the laws of most other jurisdictions, and could not offer legal advice (even if I wanted to do so) outside of Michigan.
They basically will have as long as they want. The drugs have to be sent to the crime lab to confirmed as drugs. Takes months, 8 months is pretty long though. Let me know if you have any questions.
Nader W. Nassif
You deserve to have a lawyer who is fighting for you! If you are on the internet looking for answers to legal questions and you've paid a criminal defense attorney for your marijuana case, you need to go see your lawyer and have a serious talk. If I were in a serious situation and I'd paid someone my hard earned dollars to help me, I would not accept poor service.
Years licensed, work experience, educationLegal community recognition
Peer endorsements, associations, awardsLegal thought leadership
Publications, speaking engagementsDiscipline