In our county possession is a misdemeanor. What I meant with my statement "these are pretty basic charges" is that they are very open and shut cases. What more do you need to know to press charges on possession? Guy drives in car. Guy gets pulled over. Cop sees drugs in center concil. Cop arrests guy. Guy gets booked. Guy posts bail. Guy goes to court. Prosecutor doesn't show up. Judge says he is exonerated. Guy gets letter 300+ days later saying he is being charged after all and must return to court. I don't know what would validate the delay in such a simple case. The evidence is there. Its very obvious what Guy should be charged for. Almost every case is done this way in my county (county is in California).
BTW, I asked around and this is a common practice for the people that are arrested and don't bail out, too. They are OR-ed without charges. Leave. Get letter in mail.
In this county there are a lot of vacation homes, in one City there are a lot of empty houses. There is a very large homeless population and a lot of addicts. They tend to squat in whatever bank-owned or empty house they can. plus there are a lot of areas that don't have mailboxes, only PO Boxes. Those that cant afford the PO Box share PO Boxes. It is hard for people like this to successfully receive important mail. When they don't get the "Surprise, we decided to press charges after all for your very obviously-chargeable case" letter they end up missing court and getting an extra charge. They get a warrant, are arrested later, then the prosecutor uses the extra charge of missing court as leverage.
The prosecutors know the demographic in this county. Also, 88% of the alleged offenders end up missing the court date that is assigned in the "Surprise you have charges after all" Letter.
They only send one letter. If they did bail out originally then there is still a possibility of missing the letter (since there are few jobs in this county and most people work out of the area) and getting a warrant. Which means new bail is posted if they get arrested on a warrant. Which means the likely working class individual now has to pay for another bail bondsman to get him out- being forced to post bail for the same event.
Also, if they don't press charges then its almost equivalent to a false imprisonment or something. The law enforcement can just go around arresting people and not charging them?
The whole thing seems wrong to me. Is this normal or legal practice on the side of the prosecutor?? I can imagine one or two delays here and there, but 90% of the cases shouldn't have the charges delayed for up to a year later or not get charged at all after being arrested. Does anyone else see an issue with this practice?
(Also, my fiances brother had left drugs in his car. He admitted it and turned himself in for the crime since. My fiancé gets drug tested all the time for work. Im asking about this because I the criminal system in this county/the DA's practice of delaying charges for nearly every case that comes before the court is strange and I think it might be an ethical issue.)