Speedy Trial in Florida
The 6th Amendment of the US Constitution establishes that in all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial”. Article I, Section 16 of the Florida Constitution states that the accused is entitled “to have a speedy and public trial by impartial jury in the county where the crime was committed”. The Florida Rules of Criminal Procedure (Fla R. Crim. P.) defines what Speedy Trial means in Florida.
Every person charged with a crime shall be brought to trial within 90 days of arrest.
Every person charged with a crime shall be brought to trial within 175 days of arrest.
A defendant is entitled to a speedy trial whether in custody or released pending trial. And the running of speedy trial is automatic without demand or notice by either the state or the defendant.
‘Arrest’ in this context means when a person is in custody. ‘Custody’ is established on arrest or issuance of a notice to appear.
Speedy Trial Procedure
The speedy trial timeline begins to run immediately. But a defendant has to take action to enforce the deadlines or they can be waived.
When a Speedy Trial is demanded, then any person charged with a crime by indictment or information (formal filing document charging a person with a crime), shall have the right to demand a trial within 60 days of the demand. The accused has to file a separate pleading–Demand for Speedy Trial (“Demand”)–and serve it on the State.
No later than 5 days from the filing of the Demand the Court shall have a calendar call to announce receipt of the Demand and to set the case for trial. The Court is then required to set the date for trial between 5 days from the hearing and 45 days from the hearing.
If the trial is not within 50 days of the Demand then the defendant shall have the right to file another separate pleading called a Notice of Expiration of Speedy Trial Time (“Notice”). Within 5 days of the filing of the Notice, the Court will hold another hearing and set the trial within 10 days. If the defendant is not brought to trial within 10 days, through no fault of the Defendant, then the court shall dismiss the case.
Commencement of Trial
Trial is considered to have commenced when the jury panel is sworn for voir dire or before the court for a bench trial.
Speedy trial can be waived by the Defendant or by Counsel. In some cases, especially when a client is out of custody, it can be to the Defendant’s advantage to waive speedy trial to conduct a thorough investigation of the case. But Each case is different.
Why Should You Hire an Experienced Trial Lawyer?
Hiring a lawyer that has actual experience in handling speedy trial issues in Florida may be the difference between a permanent record, incarceration, or a dismissal of your charges. I have personally handled thousands of these types of cases, both as a prosecutor and a defense lawyer. As a defense attorney, I have drafted and argued motions that have resulted in actual dismissals of all charges against my clients based on Speedy Trial violations.
I have successfully handled speedy trial issues throughout Sarasota, and Manatee counties in Florida. If you have been accused of a crime and think you have speedy trial issues: Contact Me Immediately for a free consultation to discuss your case. Let my experience handling these cases from both sides of the aisle assist you in preparing your best defense.
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