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How Long Does It Take to Resolve a Federal Criminal Case?

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This is a big question on a lot of people’s mind, because once they get arrested and they’re either released on a signature bond, a property bond, or even detained — which is horrible while you wait for your case to end — then you want to know how long is this case going to take in order to be finished. Our federal criminal defense lawyers are providing an overview below.

Federal Judge Assigned to the Case

There’s a lot of things that go into answering that particular question.  One big question is, who’s your judge?  Because a lot of the judges are going to move the cases along fast while other judges won’t be as concerned with moving the case along fast and will take a different approach.

For example, there’s one judge in downtown Los Angeles when he brings in a case to his court for the first appearance he makes the prosecutors sit there and go through all the evidence that they have, give the attorney’s a chance to discuss the case, he asks a bunch of questions about the case.

So, what he’s doing is, he’s saying look, let’s see what type of case you guys got and defense, you decide what motions you want to file, how quickly you can file the motions and he’s also going to tell the prosecutors, listen you better give them all the information on the case — all the evidence that you have.

Is there any evidence you haven’t given them?  If the prosecutor says, we’re waiting to a certain tape-recordings or body cam or whatever it is, the judge is going to say, okay no problem.  You have two weeks to give it to them and if you don’t give it to them I’m going to dismiss the case.

In other words, he’s going to make this case move along fast and he’s probably one of the more efficient judges as far as moving his cases through the system quickly. So, in some cases, the judge is important in a federal criminal case.

Sometimes that works to the benefit of a defendant and sometimes it doesn’t.  Sometimes you want to take a little bit of time to investigate a case and you’re going to have to argue with a judge like that and say wait a minute.

Six Months to One Year to Resolve a Federal Criminal Case

I have to do certain things in order to be properly prepared and the time frame that you’ve given me doesn’t give me enough time.  So, a federal criminal case, I would say, could take anywhere from six months to a year and sometimes even longer, depending on the type of case it is.How Long Does It Take to Resolve a Federal Criminal Case?

That’s another big issue.  If it’s a case that involves a bunch of different defendants and there’s thousands of pages of discovery, that case can take a year or two years before you’re even poised to be able to make the representation you’ve gone through all the evidence and you’ve discussed it with your client and you’ve fully investigated it and you’ve decided to either work out a resolution with the prosecutors or take the case to trial.

But some of these cases the government has two or three years to investigate, so by the time it gets to court, they’ve got all this evidence that they’ve amassed and number one, they’ve got to get it to the defense; and number two, the defense attorney has to go through it and a lot of times they’re going to have to go through it with their client.

That takes time.  That takes energy.  That takes effort.  So, sometimes these cases can take a while to resolve themselves.  You’re best served talking to your attorney about it in the beginning of the case where your attorney gets all the paperwork on the case and has a chance to review it.

Reviewing Your Federal Case with a Lawyer

Then your attorney will be able to give you a pretty good idea of how much time you’re looking at as far as trying to resolve it and if you or a loved one is in custody and you’re looking to get this case dealt with.

Obviously you’re going to be looking much more seriously about what is taking so long to deal with your case and you have to have a conversation with your criminal defense attorney about that and he or she has got to be straight-forward about it and I think in federal cases in particular, the defense attorney has a lot more power to move a case along quickly.

They can go to the judge and say, these guys aren’t giving me all of the discovery.  I need it and I need it now and the judge will put pressure on these prosecutors to turn over the discovery so the defense can review it be prepared to deal with the case.

So, I think it’s very important that you talk to your defense attorney about it and that you guys come to a meeting of the minds whether it’s in your best interest to move the case along quickly or whether it’s okay if the case goes along at a slower pace so your attorney can be best prepared to be able to defend you the right way and obviously get you the result that you need in this federal criminal case.

Hedding Law Firm is a top-rated criminal defense law firm located in Los Angeles County at 16000 Ventura Blvd #1208 Encino, CA 91436. Contact us for a free case evaluation at (213) 542-0994.