The right to a speedy trial is a protection derived from several potential sources in each state. The very minimum protection in every state, however, is derived from the United States Constitution. The concept behind the right to a speedy trial relates to the Government not being allowed to unreasonably delay your criminal trial. This right is especially important for people who are currently incarcerated, but can apply to citizens who are not incarcerated. Unreasonable delay is a violation of the “due process” provision of the Fifth Amendment, and is applied to the states through the Fourteenth Amendment, which addresses “State action,” which encompasses municipal, county and state law enforcement officers and their actions. Each state may also have its own statute and/or constitutional provision limiting the time an accused person may be held in custody before trial (e.g. 45 days). Some states like Georgia and Michigan have excellent statutory right to a speedy trial plus a Georgia Constitution right to a prompt trial, while other like South Carolina have no rights beyond what is guaranteed to you by the United States Constitution.
Where a proper written demand for speedy trial is filed, criminal charges must be totally dismissed and the defendant released from any further legal obligation where the delay was caused by the Government. However, defendants often waive the right to a speedy trial in order to have additional time to prepare a stronger defense. If you are free on bail, you may not want to utilize a speedy trial demand, since you are not in jail. In many DUI-DWI cases, local court calendars may be clogged and you DWI-DUI lawyer may advise you to not seek a speedy trial, since delay can be a strategic maneuver.
How a good DUI lawyer can prove trial delay
When an excessive amount of time has passed before the State charged you with a crime, or after being indicted or accused where the process of getting trial has been too slow due to state actions, you DUI attorney might be able to get you misdemeanor drunk driving charges and your homicide by vehicle felony charges dropped.
This type of “speedy trial” challenge is based on a “constitutional” denial of speedy trial. Four critical facts need to be shown by your DWI-DUI attorney:
1. The length of the delay
2. That the delay was caused by the State and not by your side
3. That you asked for a prompt trial through a written filing with the court
4. That your ability to defend the case has been negatively impacted harmed or compromised in some way
However, you right a speedy trial can be lost through a defective or untimely filing of the demand by your criminal defense lawyer. Courts are protective of the criminal justice system when it appears that “manipulation” of court guidelines forgiving notice has occurred. This is yet another reason to have a seasoned DUI-DWI lawyer representing you. Only the most experience DWI-DUI lawyers know when to press for a speedy trial and the multiple ways to expedite your trial – or receive a discharge and acquittal (total dismissal) when the prosecutor or judge or both fail to act upon such notices.