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When a defendant is released on his own recognizance, pretrial criminal proceedings can drag on for well over a year before coming to a head, either with a plea agreement or a trial. There are several pros and cons to pretrial delays.


  • Alleged victims and prosecution witnesses may become disinterested in the case as time goes on. This could negatively impact the Commonwealth’s case if the matter goes to trial.
  • Similarly, state witnesses may become less accessible over time. This may be due to any number of reasons: moving to a different state or country, declining mental or physical health, etc.
  • Evidence against the defendant may get lost or destroyed over time. This would obviously diminish the strength of the Commonwealth’s case against you.


  • While pretrial proceedings are dragging on, you’re in a precarious situation. You’ve been “released on your own recognizance” or you’ve managed to pay bail on your pending case. If you’re arrested on a new charge, the prosecution will almost certainly file a motion to have your bail or “ROR” status revoked. If the judge allows the motion, you could be ordered to pay a hefty bail amount or face detainment.
  • Also, delays and extensions mean more and more court dates to attend. If you miss one of these court appearances, the judge could issue a default warrant for your arrest.
  • Lastly, you will be in a constant state of uncertainty as all this plays out. I don’t know about you, but I would definitely loose sleep over the possibility of facing criminal penalties. Resolving your case with a speedy plea deal or trial– though the outcome may not be ideal–would at least give some closure to the matter.

If you’re in need of a criminal defense attorney, please do not hesitate to contact me directly: