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Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 102143
Experience:  Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.
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Hi Ely — Ive read that DUI cases in NC are getting mistrials

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Hi Ely — I've read that DUI cases in NC are getting mistrials because of long delays in getting back state crime lab reports. Do you think that there's any likelihood of success in getting a mistrial for a fairly low level felony drug charge? My son usually works in Costa Rica and Ecuador every winter, but he's out of work because his passport was confiscated, so repeated continuances are creating an added financial burden for him.
Hello and thank you for requesting me.

1) Does your son have prior convictions for anything?
2) What county of NC is this in?

This is not an answer, but an Information Request. I need this information to answer your question. Please reply, so I can answer your question. Thank you in advance.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi Ely,

No prior convictions of any kind. He's in Swain County.

His attorney says, "However frustrating, the longer wait is better. More likely that things change helping the defendant than the state."

He has been going to Costa Rica & Ecuador to guide kayaking trips with his employer for almost twenty years. Employers posted bail for him and would surely vouch for his showing up in court, but several more years of delays would be really hard because so little work is available in Swain Cty in the winter.


His attorney says, "However frustrating, the longer wait is better. More likely that things change helping the defendant than the state."

Smart attorney. You see, prosecutors (DA, colloquially) have a loaded docket every time. The more one waits, the more the DA will either have to do a good deal or risk the matter at trial (which costs man hours and time). The DA does not want to go to trial most of the time. So the matter keeps getting postponed and hopefully, the DA will be pressured to agree to a good deal.

Is there a guaranteed mistrial, however? No. And, taking this risk also may mean being convicted if the jury finds him guilty. As such, the attorney's advice of wait and let the pressure build on the DA makes a lot of sense.

Now, it is his choice, of course. However, if I were him, I would play the waiting game. Swain County is not large - there is no back up per se on cases, and there is no such enlarged mistrial of mistrial, I am afraid. Mistrial means the jury not being able to reach a unanimous guilty plea. In Swain County, the lab is not backed up (which may cause juries to question DA argument), so he'd be taking a risk going to trial. A big risk.

Waiting is better, even if it means financial hardship...

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Ely and other Criminal Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank you, Ely.

My pleasure.

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