What About That Speedy Trial?
The 6th Amendment to the Constitution guarantees the accused the right to a speedy trial. Because defendants are presumed innocent, it makes sense that the Founders believed in giving the accused their day in court as quickly as possible. Otherwise, innocent people could be assumed guilty unless their names were cleared in a court of law. But what actually constitutes a speedy trial?
Benefits of a Speedy Trial
There are many benefits to having a speedy trial:
Witnesses are more likely to still be available and to remember their experiences more clearly.
Wrongly accused individuals are able to move on with their lives.
Oftentimes the accused is jailed while awaiting trial, and a speedy trial can reduce the time behind bars.
Trial delays might occur for a number of reasons:
- Sometimes law enforcement is slow to disclose information to the prosecution, who is then slow to disclose that information to the defense.
- State labs may have backlogs that lead to delays in forensic testing.
- An abundance of evidence may take time to review.
- The prosecution may be understaffed and need more time to prepare.
- Courts may be backlogged, making it difficult to schedule a timely court date.
- The prosecution may intentionally delay the case for their own reasons.
The Barker Test
In the Silver State, a speedy trial has been defined as occurring after 30 but within 60 days of arraignment. However, the 60 days can be extended under certain circumstances. When challenging the length of a delay, courts must consider certain criteria:
- How long was the delay? Has it been reasonable considering the seriousness of the charges involved?
- What was the reason for the delay? Is it related to prosecutorial mistakes, or simply to expected evidence gathering and so forth?
- Has the defendant asserted their right to a speedy trial?
- Has any prejudice been suffered by the defendant because of the delay? If the defendant’s life has been seriously disrupted by the delay, it may be cause for action.
The Nevada Revised Statutes give courts the ability to dismiss a criminal case in the event a trial has not occurred within 60 days. This may or may not occur based on an analysis of the situation using the Barker Test.
Fighting for a Speedy Trial
If you believe your right to a speedy trial has been violated, your defense attorney can allege that the prosecution was sloppy and disorganized, which led to unnecessary delays. Even more convincing would be evidence of the prosecution intentionally holding things up as they search for additional evidence against you. As the right to a speedy trial was intended to safeguard the presumption of innocence, any unusual or untoward delays could be a good reason to fight for a case dismissal.
The dedicated and experienced Las Vegas criminal defense attorneys at Lobo Law are ready to fight for the best outcomes for you, regardless of the charges, regardless of the circumstances. To discuss your situation, schedule a confidential consultation in our office today.