DUI cases can be very daunting and stressful, especially for people that have never experienced law enforcement or the criminal justice system before. Court dates can seem overwhelming. What often becomes a source of increasing frustration is the fact that cases often take a long time to come to an eventual resolution. Part of the reason for cases getting dragged out for months and sometimes years is that the discovery of evidence, discussions, negotiations, and in some cases, trials, take a very long time.
Each piece of evidence needs to be examined after the defense receives it from the state, issues need to be spotted, sometimes witnesses must be spoken to, test results and surveillance must be looked at, and defenses take time to formulate. All of this must take place before the defense is in a position to negotiate with the prosecutor and try to resolve the case by a plea deal or a trial.
In cases where there are complicated constitutional violations or errors by law enforcement or aggravating factors alleged, the time it takes to resolve the case could be even longer. In these complicated cases, it is often more likely that the case will have to move to the pre-trial or trial phase because they cannot be resolved by a plea offer from the prosecutor.
Continuances and Court Dates
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There are several reasons why court dates might be moved and the parties may request a continuance in the case from the court. The most common reason is that either the prosecution or the defense needs more time to investigate the case or gather evidence before moving to the next phase of the case. If this reasoning for the continuance is justified and not simply a delay tactic, the judge will almost always grant the continuance. Continuances requested by defense attorneys are generally justified if the defense needs time to review evidence, investigate facts, consult with witnesses, wait to get discovery from the state, negotiate a plea agreement, or hold a meeting with the client.
Continuances requested by the defense are allowed when more time is necessary for the defense attorney to provide effective representation for their client, which is the client’s constitutional right. Many times, the defense attorney will request a continuance in this situation because prosecutors have more limits on requesting more preparation time due to the defendant’s right to a speedy trial.
There are a few other instances where continuances are necessary, such as when the prosecution requests to amend the indictment, which is the charges against the defendant, if the defendant needs a different attorney, or when there is a surprise such as being unable to locate a witness. Judges will often deny continuances requested by the defense where it would cause an unreasonable delay or the reasoning for the continuances is to purposely delay the case.
Simply put, criminal cases can take a long time due to the fact that the prosecution and the defense attorney need time to investigate, research, and prepare so that they are at a minimum meeting their ethical duties as lawyers for the state or for a client. The courthouse and attorneys usually are not attempting to unnecessarily delay cases and expend more time and resources than needed, but continuances and delays are all part of the criminal justice process.
The beginning of any case may seem to move at a snail’s pace. However, each continuance requested by a defense attorney is in the best interest of the client and their defense. If you have been arrested for a DUI in Connecticut or have more questions about court dates and continuances, contact Lady DUI today to speak with a DUI lawyer.