Right To A Speedy Trial In Criminal Cases
What is the Right To A Speedy Trial In Criminal Cases
The Sixth Amendment to the US Constitution guarantee's a defendant the right to a speedy trial in a criminal case. Many states also have state constitutional provisions or statutes which guarantee a defendant the right to a speedy trial. A defendant may exercise his right to a speedy trial upon arrest, indictment, or other formal accusations. The definition of "speedy" and the benefits of demanding the right to a speedy trial vary from state to state.
Speedy Trial Time Limits
A defendant's right to a speedy trial will usually be defined by a state statute. The statute will specify the number of days or months the prosecution has to bring the defendant to trial. In many jurisdictions, the prosecution generally has 60 to 120 days to bring an imprisoned defendant to trial unless the defendant waives the right to a speedy trial. The time period is generally longer for a defendant out of custody.
Not included in the calculation of speedy trial time are:
- Delays caused by motions
- Adjournments with the consent of the defendant
- Time when the defendant is unavailable
- Time when the defendant is without counsel
- Other exceptional circumstances
Has My Right to a Speedy Trial Been Violated?
Determining whether a defendant's right to a speedy trial has been violated involves a balancing of at least four factors:
- The length of the delay
- The reason for the delay
- The delay has caused hardship to the defendant
- Whether the defendant has demanded the right to a speedy trial
To win, the defendant must prove that the factors weigh in his favor. The circumstances of each particular case are very important in determining whether the right to a speedy trial has been violated.
Result of Violation of Right to Speedy Trial
A defendant that has been denied his right to a speedy trial will receive a dismissal of the indictment or a reversal of a conviction followed by a dismissal of the indictment.
Do I Need a Lawyer Experienced in Criminal Law?
Speedy trial complications may seem simple, but an experienced criminal defense lawyer is essential in understanding the court's procedure. If you have experienced severe delay, you should speak to a criminal defense lawyer immediately to learn more about your rights, your defenses and the complicated legal system.
Consult a Lawyer - Present Your Case Now!
Last Modified: 08-16-2013 10:00 AM PDT
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