Spoke to some lawyers about a criminal investigation involving some family. Some said that if the DA decides to file, then they do so without notifying the lawyer so their client gets blindsided by being picked up at work or at home even if they are not a flight risk or an immediate danger to society. Not sure if they were trying to scare us. Typically how much time does a DA give a lawyer that charges are going to be filed? Hours? Days? Weeks?
It depends. Depends upon the individual DA, the charges filed, if any, office policies, many factors. Basically your question is impossible to answer beyond, it depends.
San Diego Criminal Defense Attorney--20 years experience
Many factors in play, I'll try to provide a general view.
If this is a misdemeanor case, the cop will give a citation/promise to appear. On the specified court date, you'll find out if a complaint has not been filed. If you were arrested as opposed to being given a citation, then the DA's have 3 days to file the charges.
In felony cases, this becomes more muddy. Sometimes an arrest warrant will be issued for the defendant's arrest. Other times, a notice to appear will be sent. Generally, the DA DOES NOT contact the defense attorney prior to filing. Some defense counsels will approach the DA before arraignment to try and prevent charges from being filed.
It depends upon the DA and the lawyer involved. Some of us who are former prosecutors (now working our way back to heaven!) have connections with both the prosecutors and the investigators so they are less likely to blindside the client by arresting them and doing the perp walk for the cameras.
Depending upon the crime, they have up to 3 or 4 years to file a case. However, if you have already been contacted by the investigators (and hopefully didn't say ANYTHING) then they usually make a decision within a few weeks.
Some attorneys wait until the DA makes their decision. I try to contact the investigating officer and the DA before the court date to try to level the playing field and get our side of the story in; hoping to affect the DA's decision.
In my experience, a criminal defense attorney who knows what they're doing, can find out if charges are filed. In my 28 years of handling criminal matters, I have spoken with the IO's and also called the DA's office and checked in other ways, and we have ALWAYS been able to find if our client's case was filed. I hope that helps..... David Wallin
I have read all the responses and wonder why you can't get a straight answer to your question. The DA is under NO obligation to give the defense attorney a head's up that charges are being filed. Yes, often the attorney who is proactive enough can find out but the DA doesn't have to give anyone notice in advance.
Definitely not weeks. Typically no more than a day or two if the attorney has made arrangements for such. Here's the kicker, I generally will make the deal with the investigating officer because making the deal with the prosecution doesn't mean that it will get to law enforcement. And I do believe that its important that law enforcement agrees.
The response above is not intended as legal advice since it’s impracticable to provide thorough, accurate advice based upon the query without additional details. It is highly recommended that one should seek advice from a criminal defense attorney licensed in your jurisdiction by setting up a confidential meeting. Moreover, this response does not constitute the creation of an attorney-client relationship since this message is not a confidential communication because it was posted on a public website, thereby publicly disclosing the information, which is another reason to setup a confidential meeting with an attorney.
Years licensed, work experience, educationLegal community recognition
Peer endorsements, associations, awardsLegal thought leadership
Publications, speaking engagementsDiscipline