What is the time limit of a speedy trial and when does it start, date of arrest or arraingment?

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  • 1 decade ago
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    Well there may or may not be an applicable specific time limit. Several states have imposed specific STATUTORY time limits on how quickly trial must occur. I don't know where you reside, but New York, for instance, requires trial within 6 months for everything but murder. Whether there is a specific statutory limit in your case will depend on where you live. Unfortunately, the remedies for violation of state statutes for speedy trial can often be substantially less than the remedy for a constitutional speedy trial violation. Namely, statutory violations sometimes result in only a dismissal without prejudice, while constitutional violations usually result in a dismissal WITH prejudice. Thus, with a statutory speedy trial violation, prosecutors can sometimes re-file the charges.

    If your state does not have a statutory speedy trial grant, or the speedy trial violation is particularly egregious, there may be a CONSTITUTIONAL speedy trial violation. Some states grant a speedy trial right in their constitution, and the interpretation of this right obviously varies by state. However, the right to a speedy trial is also guaranteed in the federal constitution through the 6th amendment. Unfortunately, there is no specific time limit there, just a broad grant of a right to a speedy and public trial. This broad grant essentially assures a defendant a trial for the alleged crimes within a reasonable time after being arrested.

    Whether or not a trial is in fact "speedy" enough under the Sixth Amendment comes down to the circumstances of the case itself, and the reasons for any delays. In the most extreme situations, when a court determines that the delay between arrest and trial was unreasonable and prejudicial to the defendant, the court dismisses the case altogether.

    If you want a speedy trial, it is important that you assert your right. Courts will and regularly do interpret a defendant's silence regarding a speedy trial, as an acquiescence to the prosecution's delay. Essentially, what this means, is that if you want a speedy trial, you have to complain about not getting a speedy trial. If you complain, and there is still delay, the court will be MUCH more likely to dismiss the case altogether based on the delay alone.

    Be aware though, that if you demand your speedy trial, it will make it much less likely that a court will grant a motion filed by you later to delay the trial. Thus, if it is possible that you may need a continuance, demanding a speedy trial may not be in your best interest.

    If you are planning to argue that you have been denied a speedy trial, one possible resource you may look to is the American Bar Association's Recommended Criminal Justice Standards. No state adopts the ABA's recommendation's exactly, but they do represent reasonable standards that, if violated, your particular judge might find persuasive enough to find that your speedy trial right has been violated and dismiss the case against you.

    The ABA standards are as follows:

    "Standard 12-2.1 Speedy trial time limits

    (a) A defendant’s right to a speedy trial should be formally recognized and protected by rule or by statute that establishes outside limits on the amount of time that may elapse from the date of a specific event until the commencement of the trial or other disposition of the case. The time limits should be expressed in days or months.

    (b) The presumptive speedy trial time limit for persons held in pretrial detention should be [90] days from the date of the defendant’s first appearance in court after the filing of a charging instrument. The presumptive limit for persons who are on pretrial release should be [180] days from the date of the defendant’s first appearance in court after either either the filing of any charging instrument or the issuance of a citation or summons. Shorter presumptive speedy trial time limits should be set for persons charged with minor offenses.

    (c) Certain periods of time should be excluded from the computation of time allowed under the rule or statute, as set forth below in Standard 12-2.3.

    (d) Provision should be made for the court to determine, on motion of the prosecution or the defense or on its own motion, that a case is of such complexity that the presumptive speedy trial time limit should be extended in order to enable the parties to make adequate preparations for pretrial proceedings or for the trial itself. The court should give substantial weight to a motion for extension of the speedy trial limit on these grounds that is made, with good cause shown, by either the prosecution or the defense. In the event that a determination of complexity is made, the judge should establish a revised time limit and should state on the record the reasons for extending the time. A motion to extend the speedy trial time limit because of the complexity of the case should be made as soon as practicable."

    You can find them on the web at: http:/

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