At The Time of My DUI Arrest They Found Drugs In My Car But Only Charged Me For DUI, Now Years Later, Drug Possession Charges Have Been Filed

We get this call more often than one would think. During a person’s DUI arrest, the police found drugs in the car. At the time they were only charged for a DUI. Years after this DUI charge, they are shocked to find out that now drug possession charges stemming from this arrest are being filed against them. How does this happen that a person can be charged with a DUI and then years later be charged with drug possession stemming from the same incident?

Difference Between DUI charges and Drug Possession Charges

The DUI will usually be charged in a city or justice court assuming it is a misdemeanor. The drug possession will normally be charged in superior court if the charge it as a felony.  The statute of limitations is longer on a felony than on a misdemeanor.  On a misdemeanor, the statute of limitations is one year to charge the case.  On a felony, it is seven years.

Double Jeopardy is not violated by doing this because a DUI charge is not a lesser included charge of drug possession.  If you are found guilty or innocent of a charge, double jeopardy precludes being retried on the same crime more than once.  Double Jeopardy would also preclude being tried on a lesser included offense after being tried on the greater offense.  A lesser included offense is one that cannot be committed without committing the greater offense.  A DUI .08 charge would be a lesser included of a DUI .15 charge.  The elements of DUI and drug possession are obviously different.  Moreover, either offense can be committed without committing the other offense.

Defenses for Drug Possession Charges

However, on a first offense possession drug charge, we can normally have you do some classes and random urinalysis and get all of the charges dismissed.  If it’s a second offense, there are many defenses that can be deployed on your behalf.  Where the drugs were found in the vehicle is a big factor.  If the drugs were found under the passenger seat, as opposed to in your pocket. If the drug possession charge was brought and they never sent you notice, and years have gone by there may be a Speedy Trial defense if you are prejudiced by the delay.  Any time over a year is presumptive prejudicial.

What Should You Do If Drug Possession Charges are Filed Years After Arrest?

This is a common occurrence in Arizona. This can be a very distressing and scary situation for someone to find themselves suddenly facing criminal charges years after they faced DUI charges. They may have moved on with their life and thought that period of their life has been dealt with. If you or a loved one find themselves in this situation, contact the legal team at Rosenstein Law Group. Our law firm has worked on hundreds of cases like this. The attorneys and staff work hard to deliver the highest quality counsel and effective representation. At Rosenstein Law Group, we take a team approach to building defenses that secure the best possible outcome in your case. Call today at 480-248-7666 or contact us online for a free consultation so that we can begin working on your individualized defense and help you get the best possible result in your case.