The length of a case is determined by the kind of charges you face, their seriousness, and the complexity of the legal issues to be explored. The length of the case can also be affected by the court and prosecution resources in your particular jurisdiction. In a busy jurisdiction with limited court resources, longer wait times in obtaining a trial date are to be anticipated.
Another factor is the decisions you make while moving your case forward–for example, pleading guilty as opposed to going to trial. You can also impact the amount of time it takes to resolve your matter by providing your criminal defence lawyer will all and any documents they request of you in a timely manner. Sometimes we need additional information either to develop your defence, or we need you to provide us documents that we will forward to the Crown Prosecutor as part of our negotiation and resolution processes. Sometimes we may direct you enter into counselling, to do community service, or to pay a victim of your crime restitution. If we do so, it is only because we believe that it is integral to your defence that such actions are taken. If you do not follow our direction in a timely manner, it may force us to adjourn or set back your matter as proof of counselling or restitution can often be a vital part of a resolution we have sought for you.
If you are proceeding to trial, the Supreme Court of Canada has indicated that most summary conviction (low seriousness) matters should be completed within 18 months unless there are exceptional factors which have contributed to unusual delays. If you have decided to go to trial and your case has taken longer than 18 months, depending on the circumstances of your case, we may be able to make a special application to have the proceedings against you stayed.