Having a pending criminal case in Massachusetts can be a very unsettling experience. You might not be able to sleep. You could have trouble concentrating at work. Your social life might be impacted. Most people simply can’t control the constant worrying. Consequently, I am often asked “how long will it be before my criminal case is over?”. The answer varies depending on your particular case. This article examines factors that may expedite or delay the process of resolving criminal cases.
Lengthy Delays Can At Times Work To Your Benefit
Just because you might want to get your case behind you quickly doesn’t mean a prompt result will be a good one. I tell all of my clients that patience goes a long way in criminal cases. For instance, drug cases in Massachusetts are now apt to lengthy delays. In the past, drug analyses were produced fairly quickly. The district attorney was able to use a document (a certified drug analysis) as proof that the substance the police seized from you was the drug the prosecution said it was. However, recent constitutional developments such as the right to confront the person who generated the analysis as well as the Massachusetts drug lab scandal have slowed the drug crime prosecution process. District court cases that would take six to nine months to resolve are now taking as much as eighteen months to two years to complete. Judges looking to “move” cases through the system have become frustrated with the delays. This has resulted in a greater number of dismissals for “want of prosecution” than we used to see.
Domestic assault and battery cases that linger often work to the benefit of the accused as well. These cases are emotionally charged. The passage of time allows the parties an opportunity to reflect on the event with greater objectivity. Delays in these cases enable the prosecutor to see that the event might have been an isolated incident that was perhaps exaggerated. Sometimes getting help in the form of counseling serves to assist the judge in imposing a disposition that will not impact your employment or future adversely. For someone to find favorable counseling reports credible there needs to be a history of treatments. This can result in delaying the case significantly.
There Are Times When You Want to Resolve Your Case Quickly
A pending case is something that a potential employer is able to see while doing a CORI check. The fact that you have been charged with a crime might prevent you from getting hired for a particular job. This fact might require prompt action from your defense lawyer. For example, if the case is very winnable, or if it an be resolved with a CWOF or pretrial probation you might want to move it along quickly so that you can get that job. Generally speaking, CWOFs are not accessible by prospective employers.
There are times when you will have a witness who is critical to your defense and he may be leaving the state. In that situation you might want to expedite your case and go to trial while the witness is still available.
It is important that you and your lawyer discuss your case at length. Don’t be afraid to ask about the benefits of continuing your case or expediting the matter. I constantly remind my clients that rushing to “put the case behind” you is not always in your best interests. Be patient. Our office has been defending the accused for nearly three decades. We know that we can help you. Call us now at 617-263-6800 or send us an email. Lets get to work now.