What to do if a friend of mine called and said she found my name on a grand jury indictment list in our local paper?

I looked it up. It was my name, correct age, and an address from 2 years ago! For “delivery of marijuana”. How can this be? The most I gave ever had is a speeding ticket. Can the grand jury just charge you randomly?

Asked on February 23, 2013 under Criminal Law, West Virginia


B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

It could be that someone with a similar name was identified in a recorded drug deal and they just assumed that you were the one in the same person from the drug deal.  It could also be a mistake in the inputting which accidentally pulled your info in because of a name similarity.  Unfortunately, there are several ways this could happen.  That's why most defendant's are fingerprinted-- which is more reliable than a name and DOB match.  I would strongly suggest that you hire a criminal defense attorney to make some preliminary calls for you to see if the other identifiers match.  At this stage, you wouldn't need to hire them for full representation-- but rather just to make calls for you and see if you are the defendant they are actually looking for.   The expense for a couple of phone calls is cheaper than full representation and will give you a peace of mind that they won't come looking for you.

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