Being accused of a criminal offense can be a trying experience that comes with numerous questions for a first time defendant. One of the more common questions that an accused has is “How long will it take for my case to be done?” Unfortunately, there is no way to predict the amount of time a criminal case will take to reach a conclusion; however, there are a number of factors that will have a direct impact on the amount of time it takes to complete. By understanding the role each of those factors has on the overall process you may be in a better position to predict how long your case will take to complete.
- Charges – as a general rule, the more serious the charges you are facing the longer the case will take to terminate.
- Co-defendants – when a case involves more than one defendant it often means it will take more time to complete for logistical reasons.
- Custody status – if you are out of custody your case may take longer to complete simply because there is not the added pressure of completing the case in the hope that it will result in your release from custody.
- Speedy trial request – if you are in custody and you file a speedy trial request your case will be set for trial much quicker than a similar case with an out of custody defendant.
- Discovery process – the discovery process involves both sides sharing evidence and witness information with the other side. The more discovery that needs to be shared the longer your case will take to complete.
- Plea negotiations – if you are considering entering into a plea agreement it may take some time for your attorney to negotiate a favorable plea for you; however, accepting a plea agreement generally results in your case terminating much faster than if the case went to trial.
- Jury trial – a request for a jury trial will usually extend the time it takes to complete your case because the jury trial calendar is often booked for weeks, even months, into the future.
As you can see, many of the factors that influence the amount of time a case takes to complete are factors that the defendant has some control over.
Because every case involves unique facts and circumstances the best way to understand the criminal court process in San Diego and get an idea of how long your particular case will take to complete is to consult with your California criminal defense attorney. While it is understandable to want your case done as soon as possible, it may not be in your best interest in the long run to push for a quick resolution.
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