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Four Factors Determine If a Trial Is Speedy

Jeff Cole
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Partner at Zimmer, Duncan & Cole

If you were charged with a crime, one of your big concerns is probably to get the criminal charges resolved as soon as possible. Fortunately, you have a right under the Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and South Dakota state law to a speedy trial. What does this mean? Under South Dakota law, any person charged with any crime has a right to a trial within 180 days of being indicted. Under the U.S. Constitution, there is a much less definite definition of what constitutes a speedy trial.

Four Factors Used in Determining If the Right to a Speedy Trial Was Violated

Your right to a speedy trial is an important one. Some of the reasons for this right include protecting you against facing a lengthy, unjustified imprisonment, minimizing your anxiety while you wait for your trial, and protecting your right to preserve evidence that could go missing if your trial is delayed. Because there is no fixed rule on what constitutes too long to wait for your trial, the judge decides whether a trial is speedy on a case-by-case basis using these factors:

  • The length of the trial’s delay
  • The reason why the delay occurred
  • Whether you exercised your right to a speedy trial
  • Whether the delay hurt your defense

What Happens If the Right to a Speedy Trial Is Violated

Under the Sixth Amendment, the time period to determine whether a trial is speedy begins when you are arrested or charges are filed against you, whichever comes first. If your right to a speedy trial was violated, the judge could take the following actions:

  • If the case has gone to trial, set aside or vacate the sentence and dismiss the charges against you
  • If the case has not gone to trial, dismiss the charges against you

If you were charged with a crime and suspect your right to a speedy trial was violated, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney who understands constitutional law to help you raise this defense. We urge you to start an online chat today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation to learn what you can expect in your criminal proceedings and how we can assist you.


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