This is one of the most common questions we get from clients. Nobody wants to deal with a long, drawn-out legal process that hinders their ability to get back to their daily life and focus on the things and people they love.
As your case progresses, your attorney should keep you in the loop about what steps have been taken and what steps remain. It can, at times, be hard to pinpoint a definitive answer to how long a trial will take – but we can look at precedence and our extensive experience for an educated estimation.
At HB Law Partners, we handle the trial and appeals process for civil cases and appeals work in criminal cases. We want to explore answers to the original question through each of those lenses.
Is my Oklahoma civil case nearing an end?
In civil cases, timelines are dependent on a number of factors. There can often be a year or more between the time a petition is filed to the conclusion of the trial (or settlement). If your petition was just recently filed and you have no acceptable settlement offers in your hands then it’s likely that you are months away from a conclusion.
The petition and summons process in Oklahoma civil cases will take between 20-40 days depending on whether or not the defendant was given an extension to respond. If the defendant does not immediately admit fault then they will enter a defense and issue any counterclaims against the claimant (you) to take the case to the discovery and trial phase.
At this point, a trial may be scheduled – but various motions can still delay the trial. To move your case along, it may make sense for both parties to enter into mediation which is a non-legally binding process where a third party reviews the facts of the case and presents potential solutions based on those facts.
Otherwise, going to trial can drag your case on for another several weeks or months.
Is my Oklahoma civil appeal nearing an end?
If your Oklahoma civil trial concludes and you’re still hoping for a better result, you and your attorney would then file an appeal with the Oklahoma Supreme Court. The petition in error must define any factual or procedural errors that prevented you from getting just results the first time around.
As far as getting started, you will have 30 days from the date your trial concluded to file an appeal. Both sides will then have an opportunity to file any relevant facts and documents into the record for the appellate court. This whole process can take upwards of three months to complete before the Oklahoma Supreme Court refers the case to the Court of Civil Appeals for an opinion.
Your attorney should advise you during this process whether or not to accept the opinion of the Court of Civil Appeals or to ask the Oklahoma Supreme Court to review the initial opinion. If you opt to do so then once the Oklahoma Supreme Court renders its decision you will have reached the end of the road for civil appeals at the state level.
Is my Oklahoma criminal appeal nearing an end?
The criminal process has procedural similarities to a civil appeal but requires a conviction in a lower court in order to file. At this point, the defendant would be the only party eligible to file an appeal which is the legal right of every Oklahoman.
An Oklahoma criminal appeal will only be heard if the defendant can claim legal or procedural errors in their trial, new evidence, ineffective counsel, misconduct by the jury, or misconduct by the prosecution.
Once you and your attorney (or legal team) prove that there is at least the possibility of one of these (many appeals fall short of proving this) then the Notice of Intent to Appeal can be filed with the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals.
Once the necessary notices are filed, there are numerous back-and-forth deadlines before you reach the point of having the appeals court review your case to render a decision which can take up to six months.
Circling back to the original question, the only way to know how close you are to the end of the process in your Oklahoma civil or criminal case is to compare where you are today and the precedent of previous cases. Each case will vary slightly, and embedded within all of the timelines above are numerous 10, 60, and 90-day deadlines that must be met in order to proceed.An experienced Oklahoma attorney will guide you through this process and will be best equipped to answer any questions along the way. At HB Law Partners, we proudly serve Oklahomans in civil trials, civil appeals, and criminal appeals. Contact our team to get your case or appeal started.
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