As you go through criminal proceedings, it is important to understand the important rights that are available to you. These rights are granted to you by the United States Constitution and therefore are taken very seriously the Criminal courts.
Right to Speedy Trial
When you are arrested for a criminal charge, you have only been suspected of violating the law. You have not been found guilty, and you have not been convicted. You have the right to present a case, evidence, and to make your argument. You have the right to present this to a jury of your peers, and allow them to make a determination. In order for you to be found guilty, you must be found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt on each of the elements that the statute requires.
For example, in order to be found guilty of a Los Angeles DUI, you must have been proven, beyond a reasonable doubt, to have been 1) driving and 2) under the influence of alcohol of drugs. If the jury finds that you were driving, but were not under the influence, then there is no conviction and your case is dismissed.
In order to understand your right to a speedy trial, you must first understand the criminal process. The very first hearing you attend is called the Arraignment. At the arraignment the Judge will read you your rights, will explain the charge against you, and will ask how you would like to plead.
If you are in custody, you will be brought to the Arraignment hearing, and the Judge will likely also conduct a bail hearing at the same time. The clock on your right to a speedy trial starts ticking at this time.
You have 30 days from the date of your arraignment for the court to have your trial if you are in custody. The court must have a trial within 45 days if you are not in custody. If the Court determines there is good cause to go beyond those time periods, they have the authority to do so. However, the Court must have a compelling reason to go beyond the time period for it to violate your Constitutional rights in doing so.
You may also waive your right to have the trial heard within those parameters.
Oftentimes a Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney will waive their client’s rights to a speedy trial for several different reasons. They will only do so in cases where it will not be detrimental to the client, or their case.
If the court does not find good cause to violate the right, or if you or your attorney do not waive this right, the Court must abide by the procedures. If they fail to do so, you have the right to dismissal of all charges. Discuss this important right with a legal professional to ensure you are getting the protections afforded to you by the Federal government.