A person is charged with a crime close to the very beginning of the criminal justice process. A conviction, if it happens, comes at the very end of their trial. The time in between these events may vary from case to case.
It may be hard to predict how long it takes to get from charging to conviction. Multiple factors may speed up or slow down the process. There are numerous hearings to get through before a trial, and each may involve roadblocks or legal hurdles that slow down your case. Alternatively, factors may speed up the process, particularly strong evidence that is difficult to refute. Defendants are sometimes frustrated by unwelcome surprises, like juries that cannot reach an agreement or an unusually busy court schedule. Additionally, the criminal justice process can be tiresomely slow.
Defendants often want to get their trials over and done with as soon as possible, and our Salt Lake City criminal defense attorneys can help make that happen. Call Overson Law, PLLC at (801) 758-2287 for a free case review.
How Long Does It Take to Be Convicted After Being Charged with a Crime in Utah?
While defendants have a right to a speedy trial, they do not have a right to a fast-paced trial. Our Layton criminal defense attorneys can help you through the criminal justice process as fast as possible while protecting you from unreasonable delays.
A criminal defendant’s right to a speedy trial is granted under Utah Code § 77-1-6(f). Exactly how speedy a trial must be is not specified. Any unnecessary or unreasonable delays might be considered violations of the defendant’s rights.
Typically, after a defendant is charged, prosecutors must bring them in for a first appearance or arraignment within 48 to 72 hours. This is the first of many pretrial hearings. How quickly your case proceeds depends on numerous factors, some within your control and others beyond it.
It is often difficult to predict how quickly a person will be convicted after being charged without more details. For example, is the evidence for or against you particularly strong, or are the defense and prosecution more evenly matched?
We are also at the mercy of the court’s schedule. Courts are notoriously busy places, and it is not unusual for hearings to be several weeks apart. This time is often necessary for attorneys to build up their cases.
How Many Hearings Do You Go Through After Being Criminally Charged in Utah?
There are multiple hearings to get through before your trial. The arraignment is where you will be formally notified of the charges against you and of your rights. Our Murray criminal defense lawyers can help you if you do not have counsel at this point. For felony and Class A misdemeanor cases, a preliminary hearing must be scheduled after your arraignment.
The preliminary hearing, typically reserved for felonies and Class A misdemeanors, is where the prosecutor must show that enough probable cause exists to warrant a trial. They must show that a crime was committed and the defendant is likely the person who committed the crime. This is not the same as proof beyond a reasonable doubt, and prosecutors do not need to show all their evidence.
If the court finds sufficient probable cause, they will schedule a trial. However, insufficient probable cause may allow us to argue for a dismissal of charges. If prosecutors do not have enough evidence, the case cannot move forward. If we are successful, your case may end here. If not, we can help you prepare for a trial.
For minor misdemeanors, there is no preliminary hearing, and a trial is scheduled after the defendant pleads not guilty. If you are found guilty, you can appeal for a trial de novo, but this may take up even more time.
After your trial is scheduled, there might be numerous pretrial motions to make. Important issues like the legality of certain evidence and the kinds of arguments allowed to be made may be determined through pretrial motions. The more pretrial motions made, the slower your case may proceed.
Your trial may be scheduled several weeks or months after your arraignment or preliminary hearing. How far out your trial is scheduled depends largely on the court’s schedule. If the court is very busy, you might not have a trial for a long time. While this may feel frustratingly slow, it may allow us more time to build a strong defense.
Factors That Might Speed Up Your Trial Process in Utah
Strong evidence can help speed up your trial, especially evidence that clearly indicates your innocence. Prosecutors do not want to waste their time trying losing cases, and we may persuade them to drop the charges in the face of irrefutable evidence in your favor. You could also get the case dismissed if the prosecutors fail to present sufficient evidence to support a conviction.
Success at your preliminary hearing, if you have one, may cut your criminal justice process short. If prosecutors cannot show enough evidence to warrant a trial, we can argue that your charges should be dropped, thus ending your legal battle.
Other times, the evidence is strong but not in your favor. In such cases, we may be able to work out a plea agreement. The prosecutors can reduce your charges and overall penalties in exchange for a guilty plea. Our Ogden criminal defense lawyers have experience negotiating pea agreements and can work to get you the best deal possible. Accepting a plea agreement means waiving your trial and moving directly to sentencing. While a shorter case is certainly a good thing, you should thoroughly discuss possible plea agreements with your lawyer before deciding.
Factors That Slow Down the Trial Process in Utah
Certain factors tend to slow cases down. For example, if a case involves a great deal of evidence, it may take much longer for both sides to review and process everything. As a result, the discovery process might be longer, and your trial might be delayed so each side can adequately prepare.
The discovery process is crucial to your case, and there is a plethora of information we can obtain. We can scrutinize the prosecutor’s evidence to determine if anything should be suppressed and search for any exculpatory evidence that can be used in your favor. This process is too important to rush through, and you should expect your attorney to slow down and take their time sifting through discovery materials.
If prosecutors are unwilling to offer a plea deal, you might have no choice but to go through a lengthy trial. Plea deals are not guaranteed, and if prosecutors refuse to make an offer or are inflexible during negotiations, your case might take longer.
Some factors are beyond your control, such as the time it takes for a jury to reach a verdict. Even after all arguments and evidence have been presented, jurors that cannot make up their minds may drag out your case for weeks. Our Lehi criminal defense lawyers can help you present evidence and information clearly and concisely so that jurors can understand and quickly reach a verdict.
Call Our Utah Criminal Defense Attorneys for Help
If you are facing criminal charges, it might be a while until a final verdict is reached. Our Park City criminal defense lawyers can help you get through this ordeal as quickly as possible while protecting your rights. Call Overson Law, PLLC at (801) 758-2287 for a free case review.