Being charged with a criminal offense happens early in the criminal justice process and being convicted or acquitted is one of the last steps. Depending on your case, the time between these two pivotal moments may be long or relatively short.
After you are charged, you have to navigate more than just a trial. Like bail hearings and arraignments, pretrial hearings must also be arranged. You may also have opportunities to reach a settlement agreement, effectively cutting short your trial. You should discuss your case with a lawyer to determine if any factors may speed up or slow down your case so you know what to expect. If it takes an unreasonably long time to get through certain steps and hearings, your right to a speedy trial might be violated.
It can be hard to predict how long your case might take, and your life might be disrupted indefinitely. Call our Atlantic County, NJ criminal defense attorneys for a free case review as soon as possible. Call the Law Offices of John J. Zarych at (609) 616-4956 for assistance.
What Happens Between Being Charged with a Crime and Being Convicted in Atlantic County, NJ?
After you are charged, there are multiple steps, phases, and stages of the criminal justice process before a final conviction or acquittal. In some cases, defendants are not convicted or acquitted but end their cases through other means, such as plea agreements or pretrial diversion.
Being out on bail may help you complete your case a bit faster. While courts do not purposefully speed things up when a defendant is released on bail, it is often harder to navigate the trial process from inside a jail cell. Things like meeting with your attorney and communicating with the court or prosecutor take longer when you are behind bars.
The court must also go through specific channels to determine what charges you will face. A grand jury is when ordinary citizens are convened to review your case and decide which charges will stick. The county prosecutor will present the case to the grand jury, but you and your lawyer will not be present. The more charges that are assessed, the longer your case might take.
Once your charges are determined, you must be formally notified of the charges in an arraignment where you can also enter a plea. If you plead not guilty, a trial will be scheduled and a pretrial conference to discuss the possibility of a plea agreement.
Factors That Can Speed Up or Slow Down Your Case in Atlantic County, NJ
Your case might encounter a variety of factors that could help speed up your case or hinder your case’s progress. While a quick trial is often preferred, taking things slowly might benefit your case in certain circumstances. As soon as possible, you should contact our experienced Atlantic City, NJ criminal defense lawyers to talk about the best course of action for your case.
Speeding Up Your Case
Many criminal cases never make it to trial because they are cut short by plea agreements. A plea agreement is when the defendant agrees to plead guilty and, in exchange, the prosecutor reduces their charges or agrees to recommend the lowest possible sentence to the judge. You waive your trial rights and move directly to sentencing when you accept a plea agreement.
We can also attempt to speed up your case by w=suppressing unlawful evidence against you. Unlawful evidence is anything seized in violation of your rights. If key pieces of evidence are suppressed, prosecutors may have a severely weakened case and may be persuaded to drop the charges.
Another way to speed up your case is to hire a skilled lawyer familiar with court procedures. Trials are so complicated because they are mired in procedural complexities. There are multiple rules to contend with at almost every step of the trial. Everything from introducing evidence to making objections must follow strict rules. Our Cape May criminal defense lawyers have intimate experience with courtroom procedures and can help your case go as smoothly and as quickly as possible.
Slowing Down Your Case
Other times, your case may encounter roadblocks that slow it down. While this can be frustrating at times, it is not always a bad thing. Slowing down and taking time to analyze details may be a big help. For example, when jurors take a very long time to deliberate, they are often thoroughly scrutinizing each piece of evidence. A verdict reached too quickly might be rash.
Additionally, a wealth of evidence may be very helpful to your case, but it can also cause your case to move slower. Evidence must be closely analyzed, and the more evidence you have, the longer it will take to process.
While it can feel frustrating to wait for a resolution, it is often better to take your time and move cautiously than to speed through your case.
What If It Takes a Long Time to Be Convicted After Being Charged?
Criminal proceedings tend to move slowly, but you should be careful about things slowing down too much. If you believe your case has been unreasonably delayed, your right to a speedy trial, among other protections, might be violated. Contact our Atlantic County, NJ criminal defense attorneys immediately if this is the case.
While a delay in proceedings is normal and sometimes expected, these delays should not be unreasonable. For example, a prosecutor asking for a two-week continuance is fairly normal. A prosecutor asking for a 6-month continuance is completely unreasonable.
Sometimes, prosecutors attempt to delay proceedings to pressure defendants to plead guilty or waste their time and money. In such cases, prosecutors may be guilty of misconduct and should face penalties for their misbehavior.
If a delay will cost you evidence, we can help you argue against it. For example, if prosecutors want to delay the case, but you have a critical witness leaving the country, we can argue against the delay and speed up proceedings to make sure your witness can testify.
Call Our Atlantic County Criminal Defense Attorneys
If you are facing criminal charges, you should be prepared for a lengthy trial process before your case is complete. Our Ocean City criminal defense attorneys are here to help you through the entire process. Call the Law Offices of John J. Zarych at (609) 616-4956 for a free case review.