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Speedy Trial

There are two “speedy trial” rights in Florida: the Constitutional right to a speedy trial under the Sixth Amendment of the United States Constitution and Article I, Section 16 of the Florida Constitution and the procedural or statutory right to a speedy trial under Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.191.

Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.191

The Florida speedy trial rule provides that once a person has been arrested, they must be brought to trial within 175 days of their arrest if charged with a felony or within 90 days of their arrest if charged with a misdemeanor.  Brought to trial means once the jury panel has been selected to try the case.

Constitutional Speedy Trial

A person charged with a criminal offense is also entitled to the state constitutional protections provided by the Federal and Florida Constitutional protections under the Sixth Amendment which provide for a speedy trial even when the statutory remedy under state law has been waived.  Even when the defendant waives his rights to a speedy trial under Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure Rule 3.191, the defendant may still have a right to have the charges discharged under his constitutional rights to a jury trial.  The Supreme Court of the United States has listed the following four considerations in determining whether a delay caused by the prosecution caused a violation of an individual’s right to a speedy trial:

  1. The length of the delay and if it prejudiced the Defendant;
  2. The reason for the delay;
  3. If the Defendant asserted his right to a speedy trial; and
  4. If the Defendant was prejudiced by the delay.

A defendant’s constitutional right to a speedy trial cannot be established by an inflexible rule, but can be determined only on an ad hoc balancing the conduct of the prosecution and the rights of the Defendant.  The will assess the above four factors in a flexible manner to determine if the Defendant was deprived of his due process rights to a speedy trial.

Reasons to Waive Your Right to a Speedy Trial under Florida Law

Requesting a speedy trial is not always in the defendant’s best interest because often the defense needs additional time to properly prepare for trial. The most common reasons for waiving one’s right to a speedy trial include:

  1. To properly prepare for trial.
  2. To complete the discovery process
  3. To file pre-trial motions in an attempt to exclude or limit evidence
  4. To participate in a diversion program

In other cases it may be to the Defendant’s advantage to assert his or her rights to a speedy trial under Florida law.

At the O’Brien Law Firm we have experience with asserting the speedy trial Florida statutory provisions to cause a discharge of criminal offenses when the State was unwilling or unable to proceed to trial in a timely manner.  If you have pending charges in Lee, Charlotte, Hendry, Collier or Hendry County contact an experienced criminal attorney like Aaron O’Brien to discuss your speedy trial rights.