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How Long Do Criminal Cases Last In Arizona?

One of the most frequent questions I get is “how long is my criminal case going to take?” The answer, like everything legal, is “it depends.” In Arizona, criminal cases have time limits under Rule 8.2 of the Arizona Rules of Criminal Procedure.  The first question in a criminal case is the defendant in custody or out of custody, or simply put: is the person in jail or out of jail?  If a person is in custody, they must be tried within 150 days from arraignment. If a person is out of custody, they must be tried within 180 days from arraignment.

Next, is the case is considered “complex”. A case is considered complex if it’s 1. first-degree murder; 2. involves wiretap evidence; or 3. the court determines it’s a complex case. If a case falls into these three categories a trial must be held within 270 days of arraignment. Custody does not matter. The last category is the death penalty. If the death penalty is alleged, a trial must be held within 24 months of arraignment.

These are general timeframes for trials and Arizona. There are several reasons why a court would extend these time limits. Attorneys often call this “waiving time.” It’s often necessary to negotiate a better plea agreement or find evidence or a witness. This blog is only educational in purpose and is not advice on your case. If you have any questions regarding your case, you should talk to your attorney or schedule a consultation with me at Signature Law Group.