What is My Right to a Speedy Trial?

5-1024x1024What is My Right to a Speedy Trial?

You have probably heard that defendants have the right to a speedy trial, but you may be unsure what it means. The Sixth Amendment of the United States Constitution guarantees all citizens the right to a speedy trial. This means that a person who is charged with a federal crime must go to trial no later than 70 days after indictment.  The law ensures that you are treated fairly and are not held too long before you get a trial.


How Do I Invoke My Right to a Speedy Trial?

Your right to a speedy trial is automatic. You do not need to ask for a speedy trial. It is important to know that your rights might be violated if the case exceeds the 70-day limitation. If that happens, you have the right to request a dismissal of the charges. You must make such a request prior to the trial. Keep in mind that the time does not start until you are either indicted or arrested for a crime. Under the due process clause, a delay could prejudice a case. Every defendant is allowed a fair trial.


Managing member Matt Arnold answers the question “What is My Right to a Speedy Trial?”


Exceptions to Speedy Trial Rules

There are some exceptions to the speedy trial rule. Your own actions, or those of your attorney, that result in a delay cannot be considered a violation of your right to a speedy trial. You may find it beneficial to request additional time to prepare your defense case. However, doing so means that you waive your right to a speedy trial. Also, a defendant cannot benefit from his or her own misconduct. Your own misconduct may cause a delay, but it is not a violation of the law. If a delay is needed by either party, the judge will review the request and make a decision.


What About State Prosecutions?court-cases-Charlotte-Monroe-Mooresville-criminal-defense-lawyer-scaled

North Carolina does not have an actual law regarding a speedy trial. However, the Constitution does provide that a defendant has the right to procedural due process. The prosecution must consider the defendant’s right to due process and cannot therefore have undue delays in a case. North Carolina has legislation in place that requires an indictment during the next grand jury term, or the defendant must be released on bail. In general, a misdemeanor charge must be brought no more than two years after the offense was committed. Juvenile cases have different rules.


Speedy Trial Rules Can Be Complex

While you have the right to due process and a speedy trial, there are many factors that may occur in a specific case that could impact the date of the trial. Every case is different, and therefore, you will want to seek guidance from your criminal defense attorney. Your lawyer will always look out for your best interests and will take steps to protect your rights. If a violation occurs, your lawyer may need to request a dismissal. The best way to ensure that you get a fair trial is with help from a qualified attorney. If you have been charged with a crime, do not delay. Call us at Arnold & Smith, PLLC, at (704) 370-2828 to discuss your charges today.






The criminal defense attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC make it their mission to zealously defend their clients on a wide range of criminal matters at both the state and federal levels. These matters may include any charge from traffic offenses; DWI/DUI; drug charges (from simple possession to possession with intent to distribute and trafficking); gun permit denials; weapons offenses; and property crimes (larceny, breaking and entering, robbery, fraud, embezzlement, white collar offenses); to sexually related offenses (indecent exposure; sexual assault, crimes against nature, removal from sex offender registry); and violent crimes (domestic violence; assault; manslaughter; homicide, murder). Other legal issues that Arnold & Smith, PLLC criminal clients may face include restraining orders, restraining order and probation violations, expungements; appeals; and immigration issues related to criminal charges. Our criminal defense attorneys are passionate about ensuring that individuals empower themselves by being informed about their constitutional rights and stand at the ready to fight in defense of those facing criminal charges.






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