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How many readiness conferences can be held before a criminal case must be either settled or go to trial?

San Francisco, CA |

I am a victim to a crime and the accused has 5 felony charges pending against them. Ranging from possession of meth for sale, possession of meth, theft and possession of a smoking device. These are coming from two arrests that happened one month apart in late 2012. The accused is now on their 6th R/C. I am hoping a sentencing will be occurring soon as this person has been out on bail and I fear for my and my families safety. All the "victim assistance department" can tell me is there is yet another R/C scheduled.

Attorney Answers 4


  1. Settlement can happen all the way up to, and in some instances during trial. If the defendant is pushing the case to trial, and has waived time, this process can be lengthy. While some prosecutors might have a policy of withdrawing plea offers at a certain point, the fact is both sides usually want to settle. 6 readiness conferences sounds like a lot and wouldn't typically happen in LA. Typically a felony case will have an arraignment (on the complaint), a first settlement conference, then the preliminary hearing, then another arraignment (on the information), then another settlement conference. Once the case gets close to trial, there are more frequent court dates and cases often settle at that time.

    Best,

    Nicholas M. Loncar, Esq.
    t. 323.803.4352 | f. 323.617.3838
    www.iDefendLosAngeles.com
    Nicholas.Loncar@iDefendLosAngeles.com
    Sunset Law Building | 1295 W. Sunset Blvd
    Los Angeles, CA | 90026


  2. there is no set answer. Generally in a criminal case after an arraignment is completed a pre-trial hearing will be calendared to discuss the case and see if a pre-trial resolution can be reached. If not the matter will often be put on to set for trial. This can always be adjusted if particular issues are present in the case (ex competency hearings, etc.)


  3. We don't have readiness conferences in SF; we have pretrial conferences at which time the parties attempt to negotiate a resolution to the case. 1-3 is normal but 6 sounds excessive. That said if the defendant has waived time there is no reason there cannot be 6 more.


  4. As a victim, you have no ability to force the court to bring the defendant to trial. Continuances are in the discretion of the court. Criminal defendants have a constitutional right to a fair trial with effective representation of counsel, which includes the right to be adequately prepared.

    You could contact the district attorney and tell him your situation. The DA could use this information to argue that another continuance should not be granted. However, because the defendant has a constitutional right to an adequate defense, the court is unlikely to refuse a continuance request if the defendant's attorney asserts that he needs more time to prepare.

    The response above is not intended as legal advice. This response does not create an attorney-client relationship. Legal questions can only be fully answered through consultation with an attorney to whom you give full and accurate details. Anything you post here is not confidential and is not protected by the attorney-client relationship. It is highly recommended that you seek advice from a criminal defense attorney licensed in your jurisdiction by setting up a confidential meeting.

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