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Las Vegas Criminal Defense

Will You Get a Speedy Trial in Nevada?


The right to a speedy trial: it’s promised by the Sixth Amendment . All the same, there are countless people stuck behind bars awaiting trial in this country. Why are over 30,000 people– two-thirds of whom simply cannot afford bail— stuck in Nevada county jails on any given day of the year, even though they’ve never been convicted or sentenced?

What Does “Speedy” Actually Mean? 

There is no definition of “speedy” in the United States Constitution, so scholars have landed on the term “reasonable” to describe the length of time someone must wait for a trial to occur.  Unfortunately, that word is no more decisive than the word we were originally trying to apprehend! Legal precedent shows that the U. S. Supreme Court described a speedy trial as a balancing act wherein the conduct of both the defendant and the prosecution must be envisaged. If that doesn’t make the definition adequately obscure, maybe the four items requiring consideration will be of help:

  1. If the defendant is actually seeking a speedy trial or has waived one;
  2. The length of all delays;
  3. Explanations of any delays;
  4. Prejudice to a defendant.

Still feeling flummoxed?  Fortunately, the Speedy Trial Act adds a bit more context.

It specifies that any suspect should be charged with a federal crime within 30 days of a summons or arrest. Then a trial must be scheduled for no more than 70 days after that date or the date the defendant appears in court. Local statutes differ by state but have similar deadlines.  Here in Nevada, the State Constitution doesn’t mention a speedy trial, but NRS 178.556(1) outlines the necessity for a trial within 60 days of arraignment.

So Why do so Many Trials Take so Long to Occur? 

These rules related to timely trials may be modified if either party asks the court for a continuance.  Sometimes a defendant may wish to waive their right for a speedy trial if they need more time to bolster their defense, for example. Other reasons to delay the trial include:

  1. Having a case that is very complicated and requires more time to prepare a defense;
  2. A defendant may need to be evaluated for competency;
  3. Unanticipated developments materially impacting the trial force delays;
  4. New evidence is discovered, requiring one or both sides to revamp their strategies;
  5. The defendant or another individual central to the trial becomes incapacitated or ill and is unable to attend trial;
  6. DNA testing on behalf of the defendant takes more time to evaluate;
  7. A natural disaster or unforeseen event (the pandemic, for instance) makes trying the case in a timely manner more difficult.

Defending Your Rights 

The criminal defense attorneys at Lobo Law always fight to defend the Constitutional rights of our clients. To discuss your case, schedule a confidential consultation in our Las Vegas office today.



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