Written by attorney Jonathan Andrew Paul

Possession Marijuana Ann Arbor 15th District Court Attorney - Judge Hines, Valvo, Magistrate Garwood

I handle a lot of cases that involve a University of Michigan student caught with marijuana in their dorm room while on campus. Most if not all “dorm room” offenses are handled by the U of M Police Department. If the client cooperates, the alleged drugs will be confiscated, and the case will be submitted to the Washtenaw County Prosecutor’s Office, because of the policy agency. This type of case may take a few weeks to be charged, because the drugs must be tested, and the County takes longer than the City to charge cases.

At this time, the client or a family member of the client will reach out to me for information and help with the case. I will explain to them who the prosecutor will be, and who the judge is likely to be assigned the case. More importantly the consequences of a drug conviction, which I will get into more detail later in this book.

While providing them the details of the charge, I also discuss my proactive program, which will put the client in the best position going forward. This means from day one, we’re working on the case outside the courtroom; to simply sit back and wait to be charged is the worst decision someone can make; it’s wasted time and opportunity. In the next chapter, I will discuss the details of my proactive program, but for now let’s assume the client agrees to follow my program, and I accept them as a client.

At this point, I would begin tracking the case, so we’re not surprised by charges and an arrest warrant; once charged my team will file my paperwork with the court, prosecutor and the police department. We will begin the information gathering process of obtaining the police reports, witness statements, lab results, and any media (audio or video) created by the police department or from the dorm.

The first court date for this type of case is likely to be with Magistrate Currie, which I will request the court to waive this court date, and give us a court date with the judge. The judge for this type of case is likely to be Judge Easthope, but could be Judge Hines. Once we get the new court date, I will begin discussions with the prosecutor, who in this particular case would be the Washtenaw County Prosecutor’s Office.

Once my client and I have reviewed the police reports, we may decide to file motions or set the case for trial if we have discovered viable trial defenses. We will also discuss alternative resolutions, which I may be able to negotiate with the prosecutor and the judge to have the charges dismissed, and kept off of a criminal record. These alternative resolutions are created by my client’s proactive efforts outside of the courtroom. It’s our goal to create the outcome, and have the judge and the prosecutor agree to what we’re proposing. Most clients view the prosecutor and judge as the “enemy”, but with this sort of charge, it is quite possible to take yourself out of the “punishment column” and into the “education/treatment column” where you can earn a true second chance, and a way to have your case dismissed, but it’s really up to how hard you work toward this result.

A possible outcome for this particular case is a dismissal of charges; if that option is not available or offered by the prosecutor and judge, then a trial may be the best option, but only if it is in the best interest of the client.

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