Criminal Law Questions? Ask a Criminal Lawyer.
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Question: “How long after a search warrant is executed does the government have to file charges, assuming something is found, or, if nothing is found during the search, how long do they have to notify you that there will be no charges forthcoming?”
Answer: It’s based on the statute of limitations. If there is no statute of limitations (for example, if the crime being investigated is murder), then the charges may be filed at any time … even 30 years from now. Unfortunately, the police do not have to notify you whether you will or won’t be charged. The police rarely discuss ongoing investigations, so it’s unlikely you’d know unless the investigation is eventually closed. Even then, if the statute of limitations hasn’t run out, then it can be reopened at any time. To use some well known examples, that’s why old KKK members from the 1960s can be charged with murder even today.
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Yes, I see that now. The "additional information" wasn't yet there when I was typing my original answer. Actually, the good news is that there is a statute of limitations for drug offenses.
799. Prosecution for an offense punishable by death or by
imprisonment in the state prison for life or for life without the
possibility of parole, or for the embezzlement of public money, may
be commenced at any time.
This section shall apply in any case in which the defendant was a
minor at the time of the commission of the offense and the
prosecuting attorney could have petitioned the court for a fitness
hearing pursuant to Section 707 of the Welfare and Institutions Code.
800. Except as provided in Section 799, prosecution for an offense
punishable by imprisonment in the state prison for eight years or
more shall be commenced within six years after commission of the
801. Except as provided in Sections 799 and 800, prosecution for an
offense punishable by imprisonment in the state prison shall be
commenced within three years after commission of the offense.
So, it depends on what exactly you could be charged with, but it looks like it’s probably either 3 or 6 years.
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