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Criminal Defense Definition: What is the “right to a speedy trial”?

Brian J Smith Sept. 26, 2017

Whether you’ve been in court yourself or have watched a TV court drama, you may have heard “right to a speedy trial” before. The phrase is a reference to the Speedy Trial Clause of the Sixth Amendment, which states that “in all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy trial.” Ultimately, this clause protects the defendant against a manufactured delay between indictment and the beginning of a trial.

Initially, the clause was established by the Supreme Court, which used a four-part test to consider the length and reason for a delay of trial. Any violation of the Speedy Trial Clause is grounds for dismissal of a criminal case.

How Can This Affect Me?Most states have designated more specific definitions of what a defendant’s right to a speedy trial actually means. The Nevada Revised Statute, section 174.511 defines a speedy trial as no more than 60 days from the date the defendant was arraigned. This means that after you’ve been charged with a crime, your trial could happen within 60 days to determine your future.

Your Best Option? Get Professional Criminal Defense AdviceSometimes a speedy trial can be beneficial to a case, but other times it may be detrimental. Delays in a case can help the criminal defense team collect more data and prepare the defensive argument. If the prosecutor doesn’t seem ready within 60 days, however, it could be beneficial to get the trial in motion sooner.

When it comes to your own defense, choose a criminal defense lawyer with experience that you can trust. Brian J. Smith will know whether your right to a speedy trial has been violated and can help you act within the right timeframe to ensure your future is protected.