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What is the timeline in a criminal case?

On Behalf of | Nov 1, 2019 | Violent Crimes

If you are facing criminal charges in California, you may wonder how long the process will take. You may be eager to get out of jail and get back to your life. This is understandable. The U.S. Constitution provides you with the right to a speedy trial. That will affect the timeline of your case to some extent.

The Judicial Branch of California explains that after your arrest, the prosecutor has 48 hours to file charges against you if you are in jail. This does exclude any holidays, days when the court is not open and weekends. The beginning of the 48 hours depends on the time of your arrest. So, it could take more than 48 hours.

Once the prosecutor charges you, you will go to court to enter a plea. If you plead not guilty, the court will set a date for the preliminary hearing. During this hearing, the judge determines if there is enough evidence to go to trial. If there is, the prosecutor has 15 days to file the Information document. Then, you will return to the court to make your plea again.

After this hearing, the court must set your trial date within 60 days. You do have the right to waive a speedy trial, which means the court could set the date later than 60 days from this point.

Once your trial begins, the amount of time it takes varies. It depends on many factors, such as the number of witnesses and the amount of evidence. Objections or other common legal tasks may also extend the time your trial takes. In addition, once the testimony is complete, the jury must deliberate, which can also take quite some time. There is no exact way to predict how long your trial will take from beginning to end.

The only timeline guaranteed by your constitutional rights is that for filing charges and setting your trial date. This information is for education and is not legal advice.