If you are facing criminal charges, you are likely aware of the fact that you have the right to a speedy trial. But what does it mean and is it a right that you should waive? By definition, a speedy trial is "a criminal trial held after a minimal delay, as considered to be a citizen's constitutional right." The United States outlines this right under the sixth amendment to ensure that no individual remains imprisoned for longer than necessary before having their day in court. If you are not imprisoned it ensures that you get your fair hearing without charges looming overhead for an extended period.
However, as with all of your rights, it is one that you can waive. Just as you may waive your right to remain silent, for example. If you are wondering whether or not to waive your right to a speedy trial, Florida law may help you decide. Criminal defense attorney Matt Shafran at Weinstein Legal will cover all of the necessary information with you and provide you with a free case evaluation. Hire a defense attorney for a speedy trial immediately to ensure your best chance in court.
What Is a Speedy Trial?
While the definition states that a speedy trial is one held without significant delay, the constitution of the United States does not specify an exact time-frame. However, in regards to providing a speedy trial, Florida law dictates that every criminal case appears before a judge within 90 days if it is a misdemeanor offense. If you are facing felony charges, the state has 175 days to bring you to trial.
These are the bare requirements under Florida Statue 960.0015, but you can submit a formal request with the courts to have your case heard sooner or, alternately, file for a continuance to give you more time before your trial begins. Hiring an aggressive criminal defense attorney provides you with the best opportunity for success.
Timelines for Trials
You have the right to a speedy trial and can submit a formal motion to request one. For misdemeanor charges in the state of Florida, if you file a motion the courts must hear your case within 50 days of that date. If you are facing felony charges and request a speedy trial you are entitled to appear in front of a judge in that same amount of time.
If these motions are not fulfilled you do not receive your right to a speedy trial, it may result if a full dismissal of your case.
Waiving Your Right to a Speedy Trial
While many people are eager to put their legal problems behind them and serve their sentence, there are times when it is a good idea to waive your right to a speedy trial. Your attorney may advise you to waive the right if they feel they need more time to prepare the best defense for your case. While waiting to face a judge is understandably challenging, it may be in your best interest to wait while your lawyer works tirelessly to prove your innocence. Otherwise, you may end up with a conviction that could have otherwise been avoided.
Other Reasons to Waive a Speedy Trial
Your attorney may also advise you to waive your right to a speedy trial if there is a need to procure witnesses. Your attorney may need to track them down, have them provide deposition, and go through the formal motions. Sometimes this can take longer than expected or longer than one would like.
Additionally, if you are facing charges for which it is likely you will receive jail time and you are not out on bail or bond, the time you spend incarcerated leading up to your trial may count as time served after sentencing. The benefit in this scenario is that you will accrue time towards your sentencing while your attorney also continues to build your case. So, while you may be in jail for the time being, it may also result in less prison or jail time in the long-run.
At the same time, if you do get out of jail on bail or bond you may wish to delay your trial to spend more time with family and friends before serving a sentence. This is particularly true if you expect to get a lengthy sentence. However, this is a personal choice and it is one that only you can decide. Your attorney will have valuable insight regarding your case and whether or not this is a good idea.
These are issues that you must carefully consider and go over with your attorney. If you wish to have a speedy trial Florida law allows you to file for the motion, but it may not always be in your best interest. Make sure you have an experienced, well-informed lawyer on your side to explain the pros and cons of each scenario.
When Not to Waive a Speedy Trial
Just as leaving a longer time until trial provides your attorney with the opportunity to build a stronger case in your defense, it also provides the prosecutor's office to do the same. For this reason, having an experienced lawyer on your side is vital. If they believe that filing a motion for a speedy trial may bring you before a judge before the prosecutor can fully gather their case it may greatly benefit you.
Furthermore, not only can you waive the right to a speedy trial, Florida also allows you to file for a continuance. A continuance grants you and your attorney additional time before your trial begins, in addition to the 90 or 175 days. Your attorney may advise you to file for a continuance in an attempt to continue building a strong case in your defense.
There are many nuances when it comes to whether or not you should waive this right. No two cases are the same and no two individual's circumstances will be the same either. Without speaking to an attorney who is well-versed in the criminal defense system, and who is familiar with your case and all the details, there is no way to answer the question of whether or not you should waive the right to a speedy trial.
Remember, your attorney will always guide you and provide you with their advice. Keep in mind that your attorney is on your side and wants to see you win.
What Are Exceptional Circumstances?
Sometimes, the courts may delay your trial due to "exceptional circumstances." There must be a formal order that motions for exceptional circumstances and they are very clearly outlined.
If a witness or person providing testimony becomes unexpectedly ill, incapacitated, or cannot be present when necessary the court may delay your trial until they can appear. This may happen, for example, if a witness has a death in the family and cannot travel or is in the hospital for an extended period.
The state may also file for exceptional circumstances in cases that are particularly complex. Just as your lawyer has the right to file for a continuance to continue gathering information, the state may do the same. This does not happen in average cases.
Additionally, if the prosecutor's office cannot present evidence or secure a specific testimony that they believe will be crucial to the case and have a reasonable belief that they will be able to do so if granted more time the courts may issue a continuance.
Hiring an Attorney for a Speedy Trial
If you are facing criminal charges in West Palm Beach or Fort Lauderdale, Florida, contact criminal defense attorney Matt Shafran at Weinstein Legal today for a free case evaluation. With years of experience, Mr. Shafran knows the ins and outs of the judicial system and will fight relentlessly to ensure you have a fair day in court.
Mr. Shafran will evaluate your unique circumstances and provide you with his expertise and guidance regarding whether or not you should waive the right to a speedy trial, or file a motion for a faster court date.
No two cases are the same, and at Weinstein Legal, we know that no two clients are the same. We are dedicated to each client we serve, ensuring that you have around-the-clock access to your attorney. Having an upcoming criminal case is a stressful time and we are here to guide you through the process.
Contact Weinstein Legal in South Florida today at 888-626-1108.