It depends upon the makeup of the judicial committee so every case will be handled differently. When there is judicial action against an elder or when a former elder is being considered for reinstatement, it is pretty commonplace to call or write the branch office about it, but my experience is that doing that is no guarantee that things will be handled any less haphazardly. I don't doubt the posters who say that they know elders who were DFed and quickly reinstated with privileges, but I know of other situations where elders were DFed and the committee decided that the elder in question had breached the trust of the congregation, thus requiring a very long time for him to show works that lead to repentance (or words to that effect). I know of two cases where elders were DFed and eventually reinstated, but decades later, they are not serving and probably never will. Judicial committees are like a box of chocolates--you never know what you're gonna get.