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The New York Right to a Speedy Trial

If you have been arrested for a crime and the prosecution violates your right to a speedy trial, you have the right to be released from custody and may even have the right to have your case dismissed. Both the Constitution and New York law give an accused person the right to a speedy trial. The government does not have the right to keep you in jail without your case progressing towards trial. The Constitutions of both the federal government and New York state, New York civil rights law, and the New York criminal procedure law, all require that criminal defendants are given a speedy trial.

Our Lawyers Have Successfully Argued Hundreds Of Speedy Trial Motions

The right to a speedy trial is codified in the Sixth Amendment of the Federal Constitution. Although the right to a speedy trial is not expressly written into the New York Constitution it is inherent in its due process clause. Because of this, the protection by the New York Constitution is greater than the federal Constitution and any sort of unwarranted postponements in prosecution are violations of due process of law. Despite the constitutional protections, the most litigated speedy trial provision is New York Criminal Procedure Law 30.30 with sets strict time limits on prosecutors in New York.

If you believe that the prosecution has violated your right to a speedy trial call our New York Criminal Defense Attorneys today.

The right to a speedy trial applies to all New York criminal charges including, but not limited to, traffic tickets and misdemeanors. According to CPL 30.30, the prosecution must be ready to try a felony within 6 months. For misdemeanors with maximum penalties greater than 3 months the prosecution must be ready to try these cases within 90 days. Misdemeanors where the maximum penalty is less than 3 months the prosecution must be ready to try these cases within 60 days. For violations the prosecution must be try these cases within 30 days. However, there are many dilatory and obstructive procedural tactics employed by the prosecutor’s office to unjustly delay defendant’s cases. The statutes define periods of time that are “charged” to the prosecutor and times that are “not charged” to the prosecutor, so cases may go on for a lot longer than the statutory periods of time and not violate speedy trial. The result of these tactics is a terrible frustration of the right to a speedy trial.

The right to a speedy trial has such a wide application even after a guilty plea has been entered in their case, violation of the right to a speedy trial can be raised on appeal.

There are two main policy justifications for the right to a speedy trial. First, the right to a speedy trial serves to relieve a defendant’s stress. The defendant knows that at a certain point justice will be done and their trial will be over, whatever the result may be. The second, and perhaps more important policy interest is that justice is done swiftly. Delays in prosecution cause disrespect for the law and failures of confidence in the justice system.

In the thirteen colonies, before the Revolutionary war, Americans were held for indeterminate amounts of time before they were put on trial. In some cases, Americans were not tried for the crimes until after the months long journey back to England. The American colonists resented these abuses and they fueled the fire of the American rebel spirit. When the Bill of Rights was written the right to a speedy trial was explicitly included in the Sixth Amendment to prevent similar abuses in the future.

When is a delay sufficient to become a violation of the right to a speedy trial under the Sixth Amendment? It depends entirely on the unique circumstances of each case. The factors evaluated by courts include the degree and cause of the delay, the content of the criminal charges, what the duration of the jail time served by the defendant before trial, and if the defense has been impacted by the jailing of the defendant. Courts carefully weight these factors to determine if there has been a Sixth Amendment violation.

A violation of New York Criminal Procedure Law 30.30 or the Sixth Amendment can give a criminal defendant facing even the worst circumstances new hope, and it can breathe new life into their case. If you or someone you know believes that the prosecution has violated your right to a speedy trial call our New York Criminal Defense lawyers today.

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