In December of last year, 24-year-old Jonathan J. Pilat was pulled over by Michigan State Troopers after he was spotted in a cemetery and troopers noticed upon him leaving that the license plate light on his vehicle was inoperable. Upon pulling Pilat over, troopers noticed a plastic baggie in Pilat’s right hand, and had him get out of the Ford sedan he was driving. According to news reports, the white powder in the baggie was tested and found to be methamphetamine.
Pilat allegedly told police he purchased the meth from another Pinconning man for $15. He was arrested and charged with one count of possession of methamphetamine, an offense punishable by up to 10 years in prison along with fines of up to $15,000. Pilat said he was in the cemetery because he was in the midst of a divorce, and was gathering his thoughts.
A few weeks later, the prosecutor in the case requested that the charge against Pilat be dismissed; his request was granted by Bay County District Judge Timothy J. Kelly on February 1. There was no reason given as to why the charge was dismissed, and the prosecutor could not be reached for comment.
It is unusual for a prosecutor to dismiss criminal charges that have already been filed, however it does occasionally happen for one reason or another. For instance, there are situations in which the volume or strength of evidence won’t likely support a conviction. In other cases, there may be issues with the admissibility of evidence, for example if evidence was obtained illegally without police obtaining a warrant. In other circumstances, an alleged offender’s constitutional rights may have been violated. There are numerous reasons this may have occurred, however in this case the reason for dismissal of the charge hasn’t been revealed.
The majority of criminal defendants aren’t so lucky as to have the prosecutor dismiss charges. In most cases, a defendant will either plead not guilty and face trial, or accept a plea agreement in which he/she pleads guilty to lesser charges. If the defendant is found guilty at trial or pleads guilty to less serious charges, there will be penalties and consequences to face such as probation, jail/prison time, fines, driver’s license suspension, a criminal record, and other sanctions depending on the nature of the crime.
Regardless of how simple or complicated your situation may seem, it is important to seek out the legal guidance and support of an experienced Michigan criminal defense attorney. When your freedom and future are at stake, never attempt to represent yourself. The outcome is rarely positive without the assistance of a skilled defense lawyer.