The Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution guarantees the accused the fundamental right to a speedy trial. This constitutional protection is designed to minimize the possibility of lengthy incarceration prior to trial, to reduce the impairment of liberty imposed on an accused while released on bail, and to shorten the disruption of life caused by arrest and the presence of unresolved criminal charges. In 1974, Congress passed the Federal Speedy Trial Act. The act consists of a statutory blueprint for the expeditious resolution of criminal cases. Generally, the statute limits the time in which an information or indictment may be filed against an accused after arrest, specifies the time within which the defendant’s trial must commence, allows a period of time for the defendant to prepare for trial, provides for periods of delay which may be excluded from the computation of time within which the defendant’s trial must commence, and provides sanctions for failure to comply with the time limitations.
New York’s Speedy Trial statute gives specific time frames within which the prosecutor in a case must be ready for trial. These time frames are set out by the statute and depend upon the seriousness of the crime involved. These time frames are as follows:
- Felonies: 6 months
- Class A misdemeanor: 90 days
- Class B misdemeanor is: 60 days
- Violations: 30 days
This law does not require that a trial start within the specified period but only that the prosecutors in a case announce their readiness for trial within the speedy trial period, either on paper or in writing.
Speedy trial rules can be very important to the defense in DWI cases. In some cases, it is possible to have a DWI charge dismissed on the grounds that the state has failed to bring the defendant to trial in a timely manner. Mere delay alone does not constitute a denial of the right to speedy trial. Each case must be determined on its own facts, and when a defendant claims that his right to a speedy trial has been denied, a balancing test is usually utilized by the court, and the issue is generally determined on the basis of whether the delay in trial was reasonable under all the facts and circumstances of the particular case. In determining speedy trial claims, the courts have traditionally placed great emphasis on the issue of prejudice resulting from the delay. Most jurisdictions, state as well as federal, have required the defendant to show not only that there was an unreasonable delay caused by the prosecution in the case, but also that the defendant was in some way prejudiced as a result of the pretrial delay.
In People v. Taranovich, the New York Court of Appeals fashioned a five-factor test for determining whether a speedy trial violation has occurred. The five factors include: (1) the extent of the delay; (2) the reason for the delay; (3) the nature of the underlying charge; (4) whether there has been an extended period of pretrial incarceration; and (5) whether there is any indication that the defense has been impaired by reason of the delay.
The attorneys at the law firm of Nave DWI Defense Attorneys are experienced in handling DWI cases. If you need a lawyer with knowledge and experience to handle your DWI case, call the law firm of Nave DWI Defense Attorneys.
The exclusive purpose of this article is educational and it is not intended as either legal advice or a general solution to any specific legal problem. Corporate offices for Nave DWI Defense Attorneys are located at 269 W. Jefferson St.; Syracuse, New York 13202; Telephone No.: (315) 473-0899. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. Attorney Advertising.