Penn State Marijuana Possession and Paraphernalia - Charges Dismissed for Violating Right to a Speedy Trial

Client was a freshman at Penn State that decided to smoke some marijuana in his dorm room with friends.  The Penn State police responded to the odor of marijuana in the hallway and confronted Client.  Client consented to a search of his room, and the police found marijuana and related paraphernalia.  Months later, the police filed charges for Possession of a Small Amount of Marijuana under 35 P.S. 780-113(a)(31) and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia under 35 P.S. 780-113(a)(32).  The officersmall amount of marijuanaprovided the court with an incorred mailing address for Client, so, when the court tried to mail the summons to Client, the mail was returned.  The case sat for over two years.  The Penn State Police then called Client and obtained his correct mailing address.  Instead of providing the corut with the correct address and having the paperwork re-issued or mailed to Client, the police had an arrest warrant issued.  Client was taken into custody by police, taken before a magistrate judge, and Client was arraigned.  Client then retained State College defense attorney Jason S. Dunkle.

Everyone has heard of the constitutional right to a speedy trial.  In Pennsylvania, Rule of Criminal Procedure 600 generally requires that a person be brought to a trial within one year of the date that the charges are filed.  While Client was elgibile to particiapte in the ARD program for his marijuana charges, Client chose to seek a dismissal of hte charges based upon a violation of his right to a speedy trial.

Attorney Dunkle filed a pretrial motion to dismiss the charges based upon the violation of Client's right to a speedy trial, and the defense lawyer argued that the police had failed to exercise the due diligence that is required.  Here, the police simply did nothing to try and locate Client or get the charges to him.  The Centre County judge agreed and granted the dismissal of the Possession of a Small Amount of Marijuana and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia charges.  Attorney Dunkle then filed an expungement petition with the Clerk of Courts to have the dismissed charges removed from Client's criminal record.