When you have been keeping up with legal cases in the news, have you ever wondered why you are hearing about a trial finally starting for a crime that happened last year? Why did they have to wait this long to go to court? There are a number of factors that go into determining how quickly a case is taken to court.
Resolving infractions can usually be done without heading to court. These are the least serious crimes, like traffic tickets and minor violations. You typically have to pay a fine and maybe complete community service or traffic school. However, if you wish to contest your infraction, you will need to request a court date; but even then, one day in court is usually all it takes.
For Misdemeanors and Felonies
Misdemeanors and felonies are taken to court, and how soon the first court date is, depends on the extent of the crime, whether or not you made bail, and the court’s availability. For instance, if you cannot make bail, your court date would usually be sooner than if you did post bail. This is because people have the right to a speedy trial. For misdemeanors, court dates are to be no later than 30 days after arraignment, which occurs within 2 days of arrest, and is when the defendant is formally charged with the crime. Defendants can waive their right to a speedy trial if they wish for their lawyers to have more time to prepare. For felonies, court dates are set within 60 days of arraignment; defendants have the right to waive this as well to gain additional time to prepare.