February 20, 2023 By Bryan Powell

How Long Does It Take to Press Charges?

How Long Does It Take a Prosecutor to File Charges? 

A criminal case begins when a law enforcement officer cites or arrests an alleged offender and writes a report. After reviewing the report, a prosecutor then decides whether to file charges and, if so, what charges to file. Depending on the alleged crime, the prosecutor may decide to charge the crime as either a felony or misdemeanor. The prosecutor can also decide which charges in the arrest report to file and may add additional charges if deemed necessary. 

Since all defendants have the right to a speedy trial, a prosecutor must file these charges quickly. Generally, when the defendant is in custody, prosecutors have 48 hours from the time of the arrest to file charges. These 48 hours do not include weekends, holidays, or court closure days. Additionally, the deadline for filing can depend on what time of the day you were arrested, so make sure to consult with an attorney to find out exactly when the deadline for filing charges is. 

Under certain circumstances, you may have to wait up to 72 hours. If charges are not filed in the 72 hour period following your arrest, you will be released. However, the state still reserves the right to file charges later, as long as they do so within the statute of limitations. If you have been held for over 72 hours without charges being filed, you should seek an experienced defense attorney who can help you preserve your rights. 

What Happens After the Prosecutor Files Charges? 

After the prosecutor files charges, the defendant will attend an arraignment, where the judge states what the charges are. The defendant may then enter a plea of guilty, not guilty, or no contest. If the defendant is in custody at the time of the arraignment, the judge may set bail or send the defendant back to jail until trial. 

The timeline for when the trial must start depends on whether the crime is being charged as a misdemeanor or a felony. For a misdemeanor jury trial where the defendant is in custody at the time of arraignment, the trial must start within 30 days of arraignment or plea, whichever is later. If the defendant is not in custody, the trial must start within 45 days. 

For a felony jury trial, if the judge determines that there is enough evidence for a trial, the prosecutor must file a document called “the Information” within 15 days of the date the defendant was held to answer at the preliminary hearing. Then, the trial must start within 60 days of the arraignment on the Information. 

It is important to note that defendants can waive their right to a speedy trial. This means that you agree to have the trial after the required deadline. Before you waive this right, make sure to consult with an experienced defense attorney. 

Contact Wallin & Klarich Today 

If you have been charged with a crime, you may feel frustrated and confused. To help navigate the complex legal system, contact our skilled defense attorneys at Wallin & Klarich today. With 40+ years of experience, our attorneys have helped thousands of clients get their cases dismissed before trial, and we have the skills and resources to help you too. We can help you achieve the best possible results so that you never need to worry. 

With offices in Orange CountyRiversideSan BernardinoVictorvilleTorranceWest Covina, Los Angeles, and San Diego to serve you are sure to find an available and convenient attorney near you. 

Discover how our team can assist you. Contact us today, toll-free at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free consultation with a skilled defense attorney. 

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