Criminal convictions are no joking matter. Regardless of the offense, a criminal conviction stays on your criminal record forever. Unless you are willing to go through the expungement process, your criminal convictions will remain with you forever. Every time you apply for a job, housing, government amenity, you will be reminded of your criminal conviction(s).
How Long Does It Take To Get A Court Date For A Felony?
In the meantime, if you are facing your first felony charge, you are in for a rude awakening. It is crucial to be armed with evidence that could eliminate or decrease your felony charge to a misdemeanor.
Knowing what to expect and how long it will take before you are arraigned in court will put you a step ahead in the process. How long does it take to get a court date for a felony? What are the factors that will impact the arraignment date? Find the answers to these questions and much more in the content provided below.
Read Also: How Long Can a Felony Charge Be Pending?
Detained Under Arrest
Depending on your circumstance, the judge may decide to keep you detained until your felony arraignment. As you should know, a felony is a serious criminal offense that could lead to several years of imprisonment, life behind bars, and the death penalty.
There are several felony degrees, including:
- First-Degree – The most serious felony degree. To be charged with a first-degree felony, you must have committed a serious crime, such as murder, arson, rape, kidnapping, or fraud.
- Second-Degree – While not as serious as a first-degree felony, second-degree felonies are very serious. Crimes, such as arson, manslaughter, child molestation, aggravated and felony assault, and possession of a controlled substance are classified as second-degree felonies.
- Third-Degree – Elder abuse, driving under the influence, arson, transmission of pornography, assault, and battery, and fraud are all classified as a third-degree felony.
- Fourth-Degree – Crimes that fall under this felony degree include burglary, resisting arrest, involuntary manslaughter, and larceny.
Felony Lettering System
Some U.S. states utilize what is known as a “lettering system” instead of the traditional numeric system. This system is very similar to the numeric system, as it also rates felony charges on different severity levels utilizing letters instead of numbers.
- Class A – The most serious felony charges are classified as Class A felonies. These include murder, arson, rape, kidnapping, and fraud.
- Class B – Equivalent to second-degree felonies, Class A felonies are serious charges, such as manslaughter, child molestation, felony assault, possession of controlled substance, aggravated assault, and assault.
- Class C – Elder abuse, driving under the influence, arson, transmission of pornography, assault, and battery, and fraud are all classified as a Class C felony.
- Class D – Crimes that fall under this felony class include burglary, involuntary manslaughter, larceny, and resisting arrest.
Obviously, felony classes are similar to felony degrees. The only difference is one utilizes numbers while the other utilizes letters.
Legal Representation VS DIY Representing Yourself
Both options have perks and downsides. As previously mentioned, a felony is a very serious charge. To make matters worse, you have the lettering and numeric felony class systems. The more serious the felony, the more difficulty you will face when trying to convince the judge and/or jury to drop the charge to a misdemeanor.
Your odds of accomplishing this feat will be extremely low if you opt to go DIY. Legal representation will increase your odds of a felony reduction. Of course, you can still go it alone but it is pertinent, you know the risks in advance.
‘Wobbler’ Felony Conviction
Felony convictions are a life sentence, whether you are given probation or sentenced to prison. A felony conviction will remain on your criminal record for life unless you can somehow convince a judge to grant you an expungement.
With the help of a criminal attorney, you may just be able to convince the arraignment judge to let you out on bail. Getting bail instead of incarceration will increase your odds of getting a felony reduction.
“Wobbler” felony offenses are eligible for a reduction. Convictions that do not involve jail or prison time may be classified as a “wobbler.” in addition to no incarceration, additional felony charges related to the same case must be eligible for a reduction.
A judge and district attorney will decide which charge – felony or misdemeanor – is more suitable for your wobbler offense. Both charges are reduction eligible.
How Long After Indictment Does Arraignment Happen?
Once you’ve been arrested or indicted, you’ll have to wait for your arraignment. In general, this will typically take a maximum of 72 hours. After the arraignment, you will begin preparing for a future court date, time in jail, or probation. Before making a decision about your plea, you’ll want to speak to your lawyer first. Depending on the situation, it may be best to plea guilty. Alternatively, you have to believe that you have a real chance of winning at trial.
Either way, you’re going to wait several days from your indictment to the arraignment.
How The Arraignment Works
Once you’ve been indicted or arrested on criminal charges, you’ll need to wait for your arraignment. This will normally take up to 72 hours. The arraignment is a vital part of the process since it allows the defendant to find out what they’ve been charged with.
When you appear for the arraignment, the court will formally advise you of the charges filed against you. Furthermore, this is the time to enter your plea. Before the arraignment, you’ll want to discuss your plea with your lawyer.
It is pertinent to find out whether you should plead guilty to the charges filed against you or take your take to court. In addition to this, you could be released after the arraignment. It depends on the severity of your charges and your criminal history though. Nevertheless, courts in many states will decide whether you should be released pending trial during the arraignment.
How Long After Being Charged Does It Take To Go To Court?
After an indictment, you will likely be taken to jail where you’ll wait for several days. After that, you will need to appear in court for your arraignment. This can take a few days but usually happens within 72 hours. Nevertheless, this is only one start of the process.
You’re likely worried about the amount of time it’ll take for your trial to go to court. How long will this take? Well, it depends on your current status. If you’ve been released pending trial, the court will need to set a trial date within 45 days after your plea or arraignment.
You always have the option of waiving your right to a speedy trial so you can give your lawyers more time to prepare. It is important to understand that the specifics will depend on your case and what you can your lawyer decide is best. In most cases, it will take a year to 18 months for a civil court trial to reach the courtroom. As for criminal trials, your right to a speedy trial can speed this up immensely.
How Long Can A Criminal Case Stay Open?
You’ll likely want your case over as quickly as possible. You want to get back to your life one way or another. When your case is pending, the amount of time it can stay open will depend on the statute of limitations. In some cases, this can be many, many years. However, you’ll face a statute of limitations of three years for most felonies. If no further action has been taken, your case will be classified as inactive.
Again, you have to remember that the statutes will vary depending on the severity of the crime. Sex, murder, and fraud charges have longer statutes so they can be held against the defendant longer. For misdemeanors, the statute of limitations is usually one year. There is no time limit for murder charges.
How Long Does It Take A Felony Case To Go To Trial?
Again, you’ll want the process to end as quickly as possible. Even if they have to spend time in prison, most defendants want to begin serving their sentences as quickly as possible. This allows them to complete their punishment faster and return to a normal life. The only problem is that trials can take a long time to get started and finish. Once you’ve been indicted, you will need to wait for your arraignment. This will typically happen within 48 hours but could take longer.
The next step in a felony case is the motions and hearings phase. During this phase, Constitutional rights, witness, and evidence issues will be settled. This is typically the longest step of the process. Depending on the circumstances, it may last as long as 3 months to several years. However, it is common for this process to end in a few months.
Finally, the case will enter the trial phase. Again, the duration will depend on the difficulty of the case. For simple felony court trials, the trial can be finished in a few days to a couple of weeks. Complicated cases may take anywhere from several months to a year. Once the trial is finished, the jury will decide whether you’re guilty or not guilty. After that, you will need to wait for the sentencing phase of your trial. Once this is completed, you can begin serving your sentence.
You’ve likely spent time behind bars before your trial. While it depends on the situation at hand, you may have served several months to a year before your trial started. Then, you stayed behind bars during your trials. In some cases, this will be beneficial since the judge will agree to use the time served. The amount of time you spent in jail before being convicted could be credited toward the total sentence.
If you spend 3 months in jail waiting for your trial, the judge may agree to take that 3 months off of your total sentence. With this in mind, it might be a good idea to stay in jail while waiting for your trial.
How Long Is Jury Deliberation?
Once the presentations have ended at your trial, it will be time for the jury to act. They will begin deliberating the evidence in your case. When they’ve finished, they’ll tell the court whether you’re guilty or not guilty of the charges.
Remember that you can be convicted of some charged but acquitted on others. Either way, this is going to be the most difficult aspect of your trial. Waiting for the jury to return its verdict will be very tough. So, how long can you expect to wait?
Ultimately, it depends on the complexity of your trial. If there is a lot of evidence to sift through, the jury will likely take its time. They’ll look through the evidence and give the defendant a fair shot. In some cases, jurors return after a few minutes. In other cases, it can take a couple of hours. If the case is very complex, it may take several weeks for the jury to decide.
Robert Gomez was born and raised in the Bronx, New York. He currently lives in Northern California with “the wifey,” “the kids,” “the dog,” and “that cat,” 🙁 He is also a former journalist who has interviewed murderers on death row. Felonyfriendlyjobs.org was born to help ex-felons get a second chance in life.