How long does it take to go through court?


How long does it take to go through court IN ALBERTA?

Once you are charged with a criminal or drug offence, you will receive a first court date. The timeline for that first court date can vary. If you are in custody, then typically, initial court dates are sooner than if you are out of custody. 

Depending upon which direction your criminal matter goes, a typical criminal case can take as little as two to three months or less to conclude and up to three years or more.

Diversion program

If your criminal charges proceed to a diversion program, then you may be looking at three to four months for that resolution to take place once you are referred to the program. The referral process may take a month or two, and in some instances, less time. It really depends upon whether the crown prosecutor for the program has screened your matter right at the outset or if it is something that had not been contemplated but that you or your lawyer are asking the crown to consider.

preliminary inquiry

If your criminal charges proceed with a preliminary inquiry and then to trial after that, then from start to finish, your matter could take one to three years. If you proceed to a trial at the Provincial Court, then typically, the time it takes to get your matter to trial will be less than if you proceed with a preliminary inquiry and then a trial at the Court of Queen’s Bench.

Supreme Court of Canada

With the case law from the Supreme Court of Canada, if your matter takes longer than 18 months at Provincial Court or 30 months at the Court of Queen’s Bench, the court may consider whether your matter took too long to conclude. 

The court will look at the reasons for adjournments in court and who/what the cause of the delay was in making their determination if you bring an application for the court to consider the delay.

I have been able to resolve client matters quickly, sometimes in one or two court appearances. However, each case will be fact-specific, and the timelines for dealing with your matter varies based upon your specific situation.

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