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Understanding Your Right to a Speedy Trial

 Posted on January 30, 2024 in Criminal Defense

Waukesha County criminal defense lawyerDerived from the Sixth Amendment of the US Constitution, any citizen charged with a crime in Wisconsin has a constitutional and statutory right to a fair and speedy trial. This is in all criminal prosecutions, from misdemeanors to felonies. However, it does not extend to every aspect or step of your criminal case. For help with your criminal charges, do not hesitate to contact a criminal defense attorney to help safeguard your rights.

What is The Right To a Speedy Trial?

The premise for a right to a speedy trial is to not hold the accused in a state of limbo between when they are arrested and when a trial begins. This means the Constitution does not want people rotting in jail for too long while awaiting their impending trial.

Though the Constitution does not explicitly define what constitutes a speedy trial, it does provide guidelines on how your rights may be violated. A federal speedy trial may differ from a state's speedy trial, as is the case in Wisconsin. The Wisconsin Statute mandates a maximum predetermined timeframe for when a trial should take place. This includes trials for misdemeanors, which should be tried within 60 days of the initial appearance and 90 days following the demand for a trial in felony cases.

How It Affects Your Criminal Charge

A speedy trial is meant to get you processed and tried quickly. Many things can affect your trial's speed, including:

  • How complex your case is
  • The court's schedule and availability
  • Material witness availability
  • Any filed pretrial motions

In some situations, defendants may waive their right to a speedy trial. In these cases, the reasoning is often for requiring additional time to prepare for the case properly. However, it is essential to understand the negatives of waiving this right. Doing so could increase the pretrial detention period and create complications with evidence and witnesses going stale. An attorney can help you decide on your right to a speedy trial.

How Your Right May Be Violated

Wisconsin courts apply the same factors as federal courts in determining speedy trial violations. A court considers:

  • How long and for what reason did a delay occur
  • The assertion of the defendant's right to a speedy trial
  • Prejudice to the defendant, if any

The court will rarely discover a reason sufficient to consider a violation occurred to the defendant. However, a defendant's charges can be unfairly dismissed in those circumstances.

Contact a Waukesha County, WI Criminal Defense Attorney

If either you or someone you know has been charged with a crime, an experienced Waukesha, WI criminal defense lawyer is only a phone call away. Contact the office of Bucher, Wolff & Sonderhouse, LLP by dialing 262-232-6699 for a free consultation. The longer you delay, the more likely your rights will go unprotected.

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