Why do lawyers delay cases? Lawyers often delay criminal cases for various reasons. Often they need additional time for discovery. Discovery can take the form of finding other witnesses or documents required for trial.

Defendants have a right to a speedy trial. But, if they need additional time, will they obtain it?

All federal and state systems acknowledge the need to quickly bring criminal cases to justice. The motivation for this method stems from a desire to keep jailed pretrial defendants out of jail as much as possible.

An alleged Victim usually finds it extremely difficult to wait for a criminal case to be resolved. Furthermore, delaying the trial may result in the loss of witnesses, witness memories, and forensic evidence. Allowing defendants to delay proceedings unduly in anticipation that damning facts will become inaccessible is not the public interest of executing fair trials.

A defense attorney usually purposefully delays criminal cases for as long as needed for strategic reasons.

To be sure, speedy justice is frequently required. This is particularly true if the defendant cannot make bail and is held in custody.

Delay is something that no one enjoys, primarily criminal defendants. Everyone, after all, wants to “get it over with.” On the other hand, attorneys swear to defend their clients with zeal by creating a viable attorney-client relationship and not doing what is suitable for them. However, delaying helps criminal defense attorneys or law firms reach better results in many other cases.

White-collar and theft crimes

The arresting officer is often the only witness in criminal proceedings, particularly those involving unauthorized possession of drugs or firearms. This witness testifies about the stop, the seizure of evidence, and the arrest.

A complaining witness must testify in a criminal proceeding involving fraud, embezzlement, theft, and other white-collar crimes. In most cases, the accusing witness is the property owner. Someone with a greater right to ownership, such as a store detective, may be considered an “owner.”

In several theft cases, police officers apprehend suspects before the property is lost. This is particularly true in cases of shoplifting. The owner is frequently uninterested in the matter because they have lost nothing. In addition, if a criminal defense lawyer can keep the case on hold for a few months, the owner may become disinterested in the case entirely. The prosecution’s case may crumble like a house of cards if there is no accusing witness.

Prosecutors have the legal authority to subpoena hesitant witnesses and compel them to speak against their will. However, the court’s subpoena power is typically restricted to 150 miles. A subpoena is not a possibility if the complaining witness leaves that zone.

Violent and Assult crimes

An adage says time heals all wounds when it comes to emotional damage. That isn’t always the case, but it is primarily in assault situations. In most assault cases, similar dynamics prevail, especially if the accused victim did not incur a significant injury.

Assault or other allegations against alleged victims cannot be “dropped.” Prosecutors are the only ones who can do it. Suppose the witness is unwilling or unable to testify. In that case, prosecutors may choose to dismiss the case or, at the least, downgrade the charges to a lesser-included offense, such as gross misconduct.

Criminal Attorneys, DWIs, and Trial Delays

Many defendants dislike being held in custody because strict bail terms bind them. In Ramsey County, for instance, an Ignition Interlock Device is a standard DWI bail requirement. However, the defendant may benefit from the restrictive terms in this case.

It is simpler for a criminal attorney to portray a DWI defendant’s detention as a one-time occurrence if they drive with an IID for a few months without a problem. As a result, the jury may be forced to examine the state’s evidence with even greater scrutiny. Alternatively, the jury may suggest a considerably lighter sentence at the punishment phase.

Lengthy delays also create a before-and-after case, usually productive in DWI cases. If the defendant received treatment for an alcohol problem, criminal defense lawyers could argue that the addiction caused the DWI. There is no reason to penalize the defendant since the habit is no more.

Hate Crimes

Why do lawyers delay cases

Crimes driven by racism or other enmity are always in the news, always trending on social media. That’s generally enough to sway potential jurors in one direction or another. A small amount of prejudice can significantly affect the verdict in a close case.

Delay has a relaxing impact on the mind. As a result, therapists typically encourage people to count to ten when they feel upset. After a few months, the uproar has subsided somewhat. Yes, the press may resurrect the subject with headlines like “Accused Hate Crime Terror Suspect to Stand Trial.” However, the result will not be the same.

Speed trial requirements and rights

In most jurisdictions, speedy trials are mandated by statute, which set “speedy trial” windows for the stated reasons. Defendants can waive their right to a speedy trial by “waiving time,” but continuances are specifically discouraged even when they do.

Despite this general approach, in a criminal case, both the defense and the prosecution, and the court, may request and procure a continuance, starting with the defendant’s first appearance, which is generally the arraignment (where the defendant is appraised of the charges and asked how he wishes to plead).

Appeals for a continuance (sometimes known as “motions”) could be made until the sentencing hearing. However, most states limit the grounds for which a prosecutor or defendant may seek a continuance. The following circumstances are described in detail;

Common Reasons for Continuances Requests by Defendants

Judges are frequently asked to adjourn criminal trials or hearing for the following reasons;

  • To obtain legal advice and representation(via a law firm or individual practice) at the arraignment
  • To obtain legal representation before a preliminary hearing
  • To prepare for trial
  • Securing Witnesses
  • The incapacity of the defendant, counsel, or the court
  • Conflicting commitments of defense counsel
  • To find and hire replacement counsel
  • To deal with negative pretrial publicity

Common Reasons for Continuances Requests by prosecutors

Unless the defendant has waived time, prosecutors must take a lawsuit to trial inside that speedy trial window. The case can be discontinued if the defendant fails to waive time regarding the prosecutor’s plea for a continuance. Even though the defendant has waived time, the prosecutor must seek permission from the court for a continuation.

Prosecutors often cite that another trial or other court issue is pending or that the case includes specific acts such as child abuse or sexual assault. Even so, the duration of the continuation will usually be brief. Typically, requesting a continuance because the prosecutor is unprepared is a non-starter.

Reasons why court delay cases

In some cases, courts are solely to blame for delays in the administration of justice. The following are some of the leading causes why courts may take longer to administer justice;

  • Courtrooms are in short supply.
  • A judge has not been assigned to a case.
  • A judge is stepping down from a case. 
  • Court documents are missing.
  • A lack of resources is hampering case proceedings.

Is There Any Recourse for the Defendant If the Judge Says “No”?

Why do lawyers delay cases

The information presented in favor of the motion for a continuation, and the reasons for approving or rejecting it, are what judges document meticulously. Does the prosecutor or defense have any recourse after being refused a motion?

When defense attorneys lose motions at trial, they must usually conclude the trial and afterward appeal the decision to the next higher court that considers appeals. Mid-trial defeats can be contested right away in several states, and the dismissal of a motion to continue is included. In addition, prosecuting attorneys can appeal a refusal of a continuance motion. The parties file a “writ,” in which they ask a higher court to evaluate the evidence ( and the grounds for the trial court’s refusal. Following the court system, the lower court’s decision is usually upheld unless the higher court decides that the subordinate court’s decision is unjustified by the facts or based on a gross misuse of discretion.

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