As a Georgia Criminal Defense Attorney, I handle criminal cases by representing people who have been arrested or accused of committing crimes. The Georgia Criminal Process is lengthy and can be overwhelming for even those who have been through the process before.
Some cases, even relatively simple misdemeanors such as DUI in Georgia, can take up to a year or more to resolve. As the defendant in a criminal case, this delay is generally beneficial and ensures the best possible outcome. Several factors contribute to this delay:
Some cases, usually DUI or traffic-related, begin in lower courts such as a municipal or probate court. These lower courts do not have the ability to impanel juries, so the case must be transferred to a higher court if the client demands a trial by jury. The transfer process between these government entities can take several months or several years in extreme cases. This delay can simply be attributed to backlog and inefficiency. Additionally, the case must be re-reviewed by a prosecuting attorney before it can proceed in a state or superior court.
The jurisdiction factors heavily into the length of delay. Circuits located in metropolitan areas can take a long time to resolve cases due to sheer volume and lack of resources. However, some of the most significant delays actually occur in rural counties. These jurisdictions may only have a few judges and prosecutors assigned to a circuit of five or more counties. This results in them only having court calendars once or twice per year. With serious offenses taking priority, it is not uncommon for cases to linger for years before they are ever called to trial.
Regardless of jurisdiction, courts are limited in the amount of trials they can conduct per year. Any given court can only take a small percentage of their open cases to trial. In practice, this means that the vast majority of cases are resolved through some time of plea agreement or dismissal of charges. This gives criminal clients a significant advantage but unfortunately can lead to a lengthy period of uncertainty while the case is pending.
Regardless of the lengthy process, a Georgia Criminal Defense Lawyer should be hired the moment that a person is arrested or released on bond. No time should be wasted in preparing for court. Call our offices now.