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Why Do Criminal Cases Take So Long?

Every criminal case is different, but one factor that they tend to have in common is the length of time that they take to resolve. In many instances, a misdemeanor case may take over a year to resolve, whereas felony cases can stretch on for multiple years. Various factors contribute to these constant delays, none of which your defense attorney typically can control.

First, every judge handles his or her courtroom scheduling differently. Some courts periodically calendar cases for progress reports, but other courts set criminal cases for trial within 30 days of them being filed. Likewise, courtrooms are busy places. Sometimes, a case that is older than yours will take priority on the judge’s calendar, which can delay your case. These practices vary widely, and prosecutors and criminal defense lawyers alike cannot do anything about the judge’s scheduling practices.

Why Do Criminal Cases Take So Long?

Next, most cases resolve through a plea bargain, which is an offer by the prosecution for you to plead guilty to one or more criminal charges in exchange for a lighter sentence or a reduction in charges. Prosecutors, however, do not always put forth their best offers right away. As a result, it may take several court dates and months of negotiations before defense attorneys obtain plea offers that indeed may be beneficial to you.

If a case is going to proceed to trial, then witnesses must be present in court. Some witnesses may live out of State, on vacation at the time of trial, or cannot get off work to appear. Some witnesses may even disappear, which necessitates one side or the other tracking them down before the case can proceed in court. How the judge handles this situation differs, so one judge’s resolution of the matter may be different than another.

At Peek & Toland, we care about helping you through your criminal proceedings. We will focus our efforts on advocating on your behalf and representing your interests throughout your case. Our knowledgeable criminal defense lawyers know the best strategies for defending you and working toward your desired objective. Allow us to handle your criminal case by sitting down with us today and discussing your situation.

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