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What is the Speedy Trial Rule?

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What is the Speedy Trial Rule?   

Hi, this is attorney Kevin Hayslett, and the question is what is a speedy trial or what is the speedy trial rule? The United Stated Constitution in the Sixth Amendment gives us two bits of information. Number one, that we are guaranteed the right to a lawyer. Number two, that we have the right to a speedy and impartial trial. Hence the term, speedy trial. Well, what does that mean? When our forefathers were designing the Constitution what they wanted to avoid was someone being charged with a crime, being incarcerated for a long period of time, say sitting in jail for one to three years before they are brought to trial and then acquitted. If they are acquitted that means they sat for one to three years in custody or being in jail before they got their case to trial. Hence the term, speedy trial.

Every state is different. Most states have a requirement that a person be brought to trial within a set period of time. If the person is not brought to trial within that set period of time, then there is a remedy. Either they have automatically had their case dismissed or there are certain problems for the prosecution. For misdemeanor or lower level criminal offenses, in most states or jurisdictions, the criminally accused must be brought to trial within usually 90 days. If the person is not brought to trial within 90 days, they have the right to have their cased dismissed if certain things do not take place. There is a recapture period, meaning once the defendant or defensive lawyer puts the government on notice that speedy trial has run, the government has a set period of time to make that case go to trial. In felony cases or the more serious criminal offenses, generally that period of time is somewhere between 150 to 180 days. That means if you are charged with a serious criminal offense, a felony, the government must bring you to trial within that period of time, 150 to 180 days. If they do not, your case will be dismissed or the government will give you a time period, a recapture period, to bring you to trial. If they do not, than ultimately your case can be dismissed.

Now remember, you also have the ability to waive your right of a speedy trial. Meaning if you want more time to prepare your case for trial, you can waive it, meaning your case does not have to be tried during that set period of time. So a speedy trial is a time period that the criminally accused must be tried within, which is federally mandated through the U.S. Constitution. Also, each state or jurisdiction may have a set period of time that they would require someone who has been accused of a crime to be tried within. Depending on what state you live in, check with a lawyer that practices criminal defense. They will tell you what the speedy trial period is in your case for either a misdemeanor or felony offense in your state.


J. Kevin Hayslett

Kevin Hayslett, Esq.

J. Kevin Hayslettis an attorney practicing in the areas of Criminal Defense and DUI Defense from the Clearwater office and Hillsborough office. Kevin is an avid tennis player and is currently nationally rated in singles and doubles. You can follow Kevin onGoogle+, oron Radio IO on his show, "Kevin's Law". Kevin can also be heard on the Sirius Satellite Radio show during the "Ask the Lawyer" segment, which can be heard the first Thursday of every month.