Nebraska Criminal & Trial Lawyers
Six Reasons Why Criminal Cases Can Take so Long

Six Reasons Why Criminal Cases Can Take so Long

Criminal defense cases for DUIs, assault, drugs, and other charges can take much longer than most defendants ever expect. While some criminal trials can be quick other can drag on for months. In big cases, such as the quadruple murder that took place in Washington in the Savopoulos home last year, they might not even get to the court room for years. Due to added DNA evidence the case is unlikely to get to trial until 2018. Many people are caught off guard when this happens. They wonder why it takes so long for criminal cases to be resolved. Delays often happen for these six reasons.

1. Scheduling problems: The court needs to schedule all parties involved including any witnesses, lawyers, prosecutors, defendants, and court officials. It can be difficult to coordinate everyone's schedules around the court's availability. 

If a defendant pleads not guilty then the court will sometimes set a preliminary hearing. In many cases the defendant is entitled to a speedy trial but this right if often waived by defendants. They want to give their attorney enough time to collect evidence and prepare their case. If they do waive their right to a quick trial then the hearing could be scheduled months later.

2. Complications of the case: Some cases such as homicide or sexual assault allegations can be more complicated than a straightforward DUI case. Added parties and witnesses will take longer to straighten out. If an expert witness is added then it will take even more time because they are typically busy professionals.

3. Evidence gathering: The process of gathering evidence can be tricky. Evidence can include background information on the police officer involved and witness testimonies. Adding DNA evidence will especially slow down a case. Sometimes an attorney will request to delay a trial in order to gather more evidence.

4. Psychiatric evaluations: Some cases might require the defendant go through a psychiatric evaluation. The test determines if the defendant is fit to undergo a trial. The process can takes time which can delay the hearing.

5. A bad attorney: There are some cases where an underprepared or dishonest attorney will delay a case. Some attorneys are paid by the hour and will drag a case on to get more money. This is why it is so important to make sure you have an experienced and trusted attorney at your side.

6. Sentencing: Once the defendant finally gets to trial a sentencing can take longer than expected. While some simple cases may only last a few hours some others can be dragged on for months.

Each of these six steps can add time before a sentencing. Some defendants are caught off guard when they realize how long it will take. This is why it is essential to hire a personal criminal defense attorney who has to experience to move you smoothly through the process.

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