If you were arrested for a criminal charge, you may be wondering how long it takes for your case to go to trial. Like other states, Louisiana recognizes the fundamental right to a speedy trial. This right is enshrined in Article 701 of the Louisiana Code of Criminal Procedure, which sets the deadlines for providing information regarding your arrest, bringing you to a judge, setting bail, and other details regarding your case.
If you were charged with a felony, your trial should be set within 120 days if you are in continued custody or within 180 days if you are not in continued custody. Misdemeanor charges should be set for trial within 30 days if you are in continued custody or 60 days if you are not in continuous custody. You must invoke your right to a speedy trial and present an affidavit certifying that you are ready to proceed to trial. If the court fails to bring you to trial within the specified timeframe, speak with the experienced criminal defense lawyer at The John D. & Eric G. Johnson Law Firm.
Overview of Article 701
Article 701 sets a specific timeframe within which the state must bring you to trial. The right to a speedy trial starts from the time you are arrested to the time you are formally charged with the crime. The following includes a general outline of how long you can expect the process to take, as outlined in Article 701:
- Cause for arrest determination: If you were arrested without a warrant, the law enforcement agency has 48 hours to bring you in front of a judge to determine probable cause for your arrest. If they fail to do this, you must be released on your own recognizance.
- Formal prosecution: If you are in continued custody for a misdemeanor offense, the court has 45 days to officially charge you with a crime and 60 days for a felony unless the crime is punishable by death or prison sentencing without parole. Then, the timeline is extended to 120 days.
- Arraignment: An arraignment is a hearing where you will be advised of the charges against you. Typically, you enter a plea of “not guilty” to the charges. Once you are formally charged with a crime, the state has 30 days to set an arraignment.
- Setting the case for trial: Once you are arraigned, you have a legal right to a speedy trial. The court must bring you to trial within 120 days if you are charged with a felony or 30 days if you are charged with a misdemeanor and are still in custody. If you are not in custody, the court has 180 days to bring you to trial for a felony charge and 60 days for a misdemeanor charge.
- Formally being charged with a crime: If you are charged with a misdemeanor punishable by only a fine, the state has six months to start the prosecution of a crime. Alternatively, the state has two years to begin prosecution if the misdemeanor charges are punishable by a fine or imprisonment. There is no deadline for the beginning prosecution of a crime punishable by death or prison without parole, and deadlines are extended for sex offenses.
If the court fails to bring you to trial within these time frames, you may have charges dismissed. Speak with an experienced attorney at The John D. & Eric G. Johnson Law Firm to understand your rights and legal options.
Contact a Seasoned Louisiana Attorney at the John D. & Eric G. Johnson Law Firm Today
The John D. & Eric G. Johnson Law Firm boasts a team of dedicated lawyers well-versed in Louisiana’s legal landscape. An in-depth understanding of Article 701 enables us to offer invaluable insights into building a solid case, evidence gathering, and presenting convincing arguments in court.
We bring a wealth of experience and strategic representation to the table thanks to our extensive knowledge of various criminal defense charges. Our firm’s commitment to professionalism and excellence guarantees a steadfast partner in your legal journey. Call us at (318) 377-1555 or via our online contact form to protect your rights and interests.