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Criminal trials are sometimes subjected to delays

Many people who are facing the criminal justice system want their cases to move through the system as quickly as possible. There are some instances in which a defendant might want his or her case delayed, such as when they are trying to avoid freedom for as long as possible because they think that they are going to be convicted and sentenced to incarceration. There are five main reasons why criminal trials might be delayed. All defendants, including those who want their cases resolved quickly, should be aware of these reasons.

One reason is an emergency, such as a medical emergency. Generally, criminal trials will continue on as planned despite the emergency. This is because of the right to a speedy trial that will often trump the need for a continuance.

Another reason is scheduling conflicts. This is a fairly common reason for a case to be continued because lawyers have multiple clients. Ultimately, it is up to the judge presiding over the case to determine if a delay is necessary.

A third reason for delay is a petition for a change of venue. This is commonly associated with high-profile cases since the defendant might not be able to get a fair trial with the local jury pool. If a change of venue is requested, the defense has to show that it is warranted.

The fourth reason for a delay is if one side needs more time to prepare. Generally, this type of delay is more likely to occur early on in the case. There isn't a set number of preparation delays that can be granted, but the judge will weigh the preparation need against the need for a speedy trial to determine the suitability.

The final reason for a delay is a psychiatric evaluation. These can sometimes take a lot of time to complete. In order to get an accurate evaluation, the judge might choose to move the upcoming court date to provide ample time for a thorough evaluation.

Source: FindLaw, "5 Reasons Criminal Trials Are Often Delayed," Daniel Taylor, Esq., accessed July 23, 2016

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