What is Speedy Trial?

The 6th Amendment of the United States Constitution establishes that “In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial”. Florida has determined what exactly that means. 

Rule 3.191 of the Florida Rules of Criminal Procedure requires that without demand, Misdemeanors cases shall be brought to trial within 90 days of arrest, and Felonies shall be brought to trial within 175 days of arrest. Meaning, this timeline is automatic without further demand or notice by the Defendant or the State.

Arrest in this context means when a person is in custody. “Custody” being defined as either a person is arrested or when the person is served with a notice to appear. 

What Happens When Speedy Trial is Demanded?

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. 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 no less than 5 days and no more than 45 days from the date of the calendar call. 

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. 

Waiver

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. Each case is different and you and your attorney should review the specific case to determine what is the best course. 

For more information call us at 941.306.1310 or send an e-mail.

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