Timeframe For Resolution of Drug Related Case


Interviewer: With a typical drug charge, how long would a case like that typically or potentially last?

James Abate: It really depends on the strategy that we pick up. If we are looking to get a client into a diversionary program, it could be a shorter term – within three months – to review the discovery, make applications to the appropriate program, and advocate for the client to be admitted into the program. If it’s a case where an indictment is going to be sought, it could be six month before the indictment is secured. If the case is going to trial, it could be well over a year before we are at that judgment day.

For someone who has a minor possession case, it’s not a big deal because they are likely released on their own recognizance. When you’re talking about a fourth- or third-degree crime, however, there is going to be a bail requirement made to you. Some people, when they are ordered to pay $75,000 in bail, are able to satisfy either the court or bail bondsman; some people are not. If that case takes a year to go to trial, they are going to be in jail during that time. They are being punished whether they win or lose. That time that it takes to get a case ready can be good if you are on bail. It can be bad if you are stuck in jail.

Interviewer: We probably have another 10 minutes here.

James Abate: Actually, I have to go run out to another reading now so I think this would probably be just a few more questions.

Probation

Interviewer: When does probation come into play?

James Abate: Probation is going to come into play two times. The Department of Probation is pretty much the catchall agency for dealing with the things that the court orders. It could be payment of fees and fines. That all goes through the probation department because there could be restitution and people don’t want you to be sending them a check directly when you’ve committed a crime against them. It could be terms of your sentence such as drug testing, taking classes, or following up with your probation officer. It could be having to be under court supervision for a period of time.

Interviewer: Once someone is on probation, could they get that probation reduced if they’re following procedure and they’re staying out of crime?

James Abate: No. Probation is not reduced.

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