I had my first appearance for a felony case on February 22nd. It has been 42 days and they have not yet set a date. The attorney i have been talking to never returns my calls. He told me that the longer we wait the better because evidence disappears and people move and what not. My question is: How long does the State Attorney have after first appearance to set a date for arraignment. I really need to get this thing either dropped or get the ball moving.
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Speedy Trial is 175 days for a felony if your lawyer did not waive speedy trial. As far as arraignments go, they usually take place within about 30 days of the first appearance. The State may take longer if they are trying to figure out what to charge you with. Good Luck.
B. Elaine Jones, Esq.
Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.191 sets forth the "speedy trial" rule. In felony cases you must be brought to trial within 175 days of the day that you were taken into custody. However, sadly, if the trial is not commenced within 175 days you are not entitled to an automatic discharge. Rather, the Rule requires that you notice both the Court and the State of the expiration of the speedy trial time, and this notice triggers an effective 15 day "window of recapture" (technically there is supposed to be a hearing on your notice within 5 days and then the trial must commence no later than 10 days thereafter). If, through no fault of yours you are not taken to trial within the window nof recapture then on the 16th day, and on your motion (or by the Court, sua sponte), you shall be forever discharged from the crime.
That said, in regard to your specific question: Arraignment times vary from curcuit to circuit but they are generally set 21 - 30 days from the day of arrest, with as many extensions as the State may seek up to the 175th day. You may (as most Defendants do) "really need to get this thing either dropped or get the ball moving", but you must undersatnd that neither you, nor even your lawyer, have any control whatsoever over what the State does or when they get around to doing it. Whether you like it or not, you are now at the mercy of the system and you will remain so until charges are filed or Rule 3.191 is satisfied.
As for your lawyer not returning your calls, that is unfortunate. Perhaps (s)he feels that you have been informed to the best of his/her ability, that there is nothing else to be done at this juncture but wait for the State to act (or not) and that not withstanding the same you continue to repeat the same concerns... or perhaps not. I do not know and I cannot assign blame. I can suggest, however, that you have now addressed this partucular concern on-line, at least 3 competent Florida attorneys have answered the question (with the same basic response as your own attorney has provided) and you affirmatively now know where you stand. My guess is that your attorney will advise you accordingly if there is any shift in the status of your case, but it may also be that you are simple dissatisfied, and, if so, then you should seek to retain other counsel.
Either way I wish you the best of luck!