How long until I will be indicted with a crime?
Recently on our legal forum a user asked, “I was arrested for criminal possession of a controlled substance in the State of Texas. I am wondering whether or not I will be charged with a crime. How long does the state have to charge or indict me? Should I talk to a criminal defense lawyer?”
You did not specifically mention whether you were charged with a misdemeanor or a felony possession charge. In general, the type of charge will vary based on the type of drug, whether there were aggravating factors, whether you were trying to sell the drugs, and whether you were arrested while committing additional crimes.
How do I know if grand jury has to review my case prior to indictment?
State laws will determine whether a defendant who has been arrested for a serious crime will have their case reviewed by a grand jury prior to indictment. The State of Texas, however, does require all felonies to be presented to a grand jury prior to indictment.
If your case is presented to the grand jury you will only be indicted if the prosecution is able to establish probable cause for the illegal drug offense. If they are, the grand jury will issue a true bill, and you will be indicted. If the grand jury decides there is insufficient evidence to indict you, however, they will issue a no bill, which is considered a refusal to indict.
It’s important to note that some states have abolished the use of grand juries (i.e. Connecticut and Pennsylvania). Other states allow the prosecution to present evidence at a preliminary hearing for less serious crimes.
How long does Texas have to indict for drug possession?
For information about the statute of limitations to indict following a criminal arrest in Texas you can review the Code of Criminal Procedure, Chapter 12 – Limitations. If, for example, you have been arrested for felony drug possession – assuming you did not commit any other type of crime such as murder- the state will have three years from the date of the commission of the crime to issue an indictment.
Now, as mentioned above, if you have been charged with other crimes the state may have longer to indict. For example, there is no statute of limitations for an indictment for murder. Other charges, however, have a seven or ten-year statute of limitations.
Steps after a felony drug possession arrest
If you have been arrested for possession of drugs there are several steps you should take immediately:
- Remain silent. Although it may be fine to give your name and address to the police officer, you should NOT make any other statements about the alleged offense until you talk to your lawyer. Do not try to talk yourself out of the criminal arrest.
- Talk to a lawyer immediately. Not only can a lawyer answer all of your questions and review the evidence the state has against you, they can also let you know if there are options such as a pretrial intervention program that could help your case.
Will you be charged with a crime?
Finally, you asked whether or not you would be charged with a crime. Unfortunately, without more information about your case it’s impossible to know whether or not you will be charged with a crime. As mentioned above, discussing your case with a Texas criminal defense lawyer is the best way to determine if the state has a strong case against you.
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