The Right to Speedy Trial In A Florida Criminal Case
Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.191 guarantees the right to a speedy trial in state court. The speedy trial rule says that, unless waived, the government must try the defendant in a criminal case within 175 days of arrest for a felony and 90 days of arrest for a misdemeanor. If the defendant is not tried within that time, the charges will be dismissed upon motion by the defense.
Besides the statutory right to a speedy trial, there is a Constitutional right to a speedy trial. The Constitutional right to a speedy trial has been much more broadly interpreted than the statutory right. The fundamental question the Courts have asked is whether the delay in providing a trial was reasonable. There are four factors the Court will consider in determining whether the delay was reasonable:
- the length of the delay – there are no set time limits for a constitutional speedy trial analysis;
- the reason for the delay, including a determination if the delay was purposeful or by negligence;
- whether the defendant demanded his right to speedy trial; and,
- whether the delay prejudiced the accused – this usually looks at the effect the delay had on the person’s ability to prepare a defense. However, a court may find a person was prejudiced from being in jail for a long time awaiting trial.
If a Court finds the defendant’s speedy trial right has been violated, it will dismiss the charges against that defendant. Further, the prosecutor will not be permitted to refile charges after they have been dismissed.
Often, a defendant’s lawyer in a criminal case will waive the right to a speedy trial. Doing so allows the lawyer to have more time to properly prepare the case for trial, or possibly work out a deal with the prosecutor. The statutory speedy trial rule allows the lawyer to file a demand for a speedy trial once the lawyer is ready for trial. The state will then have approximately 60 days to provide the defendant with a trial or the charges will be dismissed.
A person’s speedy trial rights are supposed to offer protection from unfair prosecutions that may be unnecessarily drawn out before a person is finally brought to trial. Because of the powerful remedy that is granted if the prosecution violates a person’s speedy trial rights, it is important to discuss this issue with an experienced criminal defense attorney if you are facing criminal charges.
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If you are charged with a misdemeanor or felony offense in West Palm Beach, Florida, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney handling your case. Contact the experienced criminal defense attorney at Scott Berry Law for a free consultation today.