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A Defendant’s Right to a Speedy Trial

On Behalf of | Apr 28, 2024 | Criminal Defense

In the state of Maryland and the rest of the United States, accused individuals have the right to a speedy trial. This is outlined in the US Constitution and there are also state and federal guidelines that protect defendants’ rights when it comes to trials.

Criminal case rights to a speedy trial

The Sixth Amendment of the Constitution states that the accused are granted the right to a speedy and public trial. There are other elements that are included in this Amendment including having the right to an impartial jury of the State and district where the crime was committed. The defendant also can request the assistance of counsel for Criminal Defense.

An accused individual needs to be brought to trial within a certain amount of time that’s deemed to be reasonable. What defines reasonable isn’t so clear-cut. However, the government isn’t legally allowed to imprison anyone without giving them a trial.

Though there isn’t a firm time limit for a “reasonable time,” the Supreme Court has set precedents. Statutory federal and state law also informs the boundaries of a speedy trial.

The four-part test

The Supreme Court came up with a four-part test, and courts do use this to assess the right to a speedy trial on a case-by-case basis. The officials need to look at the reason and length of the delay for the trial if the defendant asserted their right to have a speedy trial, and if there’s prejudice to the defendant.

The Supreme Court offers just a baseline for deciding when there have been speedy trial violations. Federal and state legislators are allowed to grant additional protections. Federal and state law have extra boundaries when it comes to speedy trials.

Maryland and federal law offer protections for anyone who is accused of a crime and offers rights to speedy trials, among other legal protections. It’s important to have at least a basic understanding of this if you’re a defendant in a criminal case.