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How is the statute of limitations in CO, for a failure to…

How long is the...

How long is the statute of limitations in CO, for a failure to appear on a misdemeanor possession of marijuana charge.

Lawyer's Assistant: Do they have any upcoming court dates on the drug possession charges?

Yes, on April 2nd. I was arrested on March 24, based on a misdemeanor possession dated in 1997. The warrant for my arrest wasn't issued until 12 years later, in 2009.

Lawyer's Assistant: Have you talked to a CO lawyer about this yet?

As it's the weekend, I v

Lawyer's Assistant: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?

As it's the weekend, I was referred to a Civil Rights attorney, but cannot contact him until tom.

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Answered in 21 minutes by:
3/25/2018
Zoey, JD
Zoey, JD, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 30,049
Experience: Active member of the NYS bar since 1989
Verified

Hi,

I'm Zoey.

I've reviewed your post. Please be patient as I may need to research for you, and it also takes time to compose and type a reply.

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Customer reply replied 30 days ago
Good morning Zoey, and no worries. Thank you for your assistance.

A statute of limitations defines how old a case can be before it is too old to be prosecuted. Once the case is filed, the statute of limitations is no longer an issue. Here, if the case was filed back in 1997 and the failure to appear not issued until 2009, the statute of limitations won't help you.

That's not to say you don't have other arguments. If you've been in the state, for example, there's no reason you shouldn't have been served notice of this warrant and brought in on it much earlier. One could argue that the state clearly failed in its due diligence and quash the warrant on that ground.

If you were in the state all that time and the case itself was not filed with the court for 12 years, that would be a statute of limitations problem and the warrant and the case could be dismissed.

If you left the state and resided elsewhere, that would toll the statute of limitations (suspend it) until you returned or were picked up in the state.

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Customer reply replied 30 days ago
I had left CO to move to FL, to try and save my marriage. I've been residing outside of this state for 19 years, and just returned in June of 2017.
Customer reply replied 30 days ago
I don't understand why the warrant wasn't issued in 1997, wen I failed to appear. And again, how can they wait 12 years before issuing the warrant?

Absence from the state suspends the statute of limitations. They have no jurisdiction over you when you're in another state. When you came back in 2017 and the state thereafter found record of you, they could file the case and the warrant.

You could still argue that you could have been notified. But your argument is much weaker since the law actually supports their position. I'm not saying you deliberately were looking to evade your Colorado court obligations by fleeing the state. What I am saying, however, is the law keeps people from leaving in order to wait out a criminal case and come back when it's safe by suspending the statute of limitations.

You can still make a due diligence argument, and frankly the state is not likely to be heavily vested in a marijuana misdemeanor after all of this time. But it is likely not going to be instantly dismissable either unless by now they've lost the lab report.

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Customer reply replied 30 days ago
Okay, but why issue the warrant in 2009, based on a charge from 1997. I had been gone for 12 years?

I have no idea. The warrant should have been issued in 1997, which was my point about due diligence. You can get the warrant quashed on due diligence grounds. But the case itself can't be dismissed because both the statute of limitations and your right to a speedy trial would be suspended by your voluntary absence from Colorado. This is not to say that your lawyer shouldn't try to dismiss it on the same grounds. It only means that there's a counterargument that probably will prevail.

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Customer reply replied 30 days ago
Thank you for all the help, as I'm now clear on a lot of points. Trust me, if I had known about the warrant, I would have taken care of it. I'm not the person I once was. You have a great day Zoey, and again, thank you. M

I'm sure you would have. I wish you luck with this case and hope it can be resolved most favorably for you.

I strive for 5-star service. If I have addressed all of your concerns, please take the time to rate my service to you by selecting 5 stars on the rating scale, as a rating of okay or better is the only way that JustAnswer will give us Experts credit for our work. You would still be able to post further follow-ups on this question thread about this for no additional cost, even after I've been rated.

Zoey, JD
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Experience: Active member of the NYS bar since 1989
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DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.

The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).

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