What is the right to a speedy trial?

| May 7, 2021 | Firm News

If law enforcement arrests you and you face charges for a crime, you have the right to a speedy trial. However, what this means is often misunderstood.

Part of the issue is the definition of speedy depends on the law in your state. According to the Illinois General Assembly, speedy takes on different definitions in the state depending on where you are in the process and what is happening with your criminal case.

Time period

If you are in custody, the law says you must go to trial within 120 days. However, you must be in custody this whole time. If you get out on bail, then it does not apply. If you are on bail, then you have 160 days in which the court can hold your trial.

Exceptions

There are situations where the time limit may not apply. For example, if you ask for a continuance or do something to delay your own case, then the time limit does not apply. Also, if the court is examining your fitness to go to trial, the time limit lifts.

The prosecutor may also ask for an extension if it is trying to secure evidence and cannot do so within the time limit. The court can grant an extension of 60 days. For DNA testing, the extension can be up to 120 days.

You also could mess up the time limit if you fail to appear for your trial. If that happens, you do not get the ability to demand a speedy trial under the law.

Rights

The law assumes you agree to any delay by default. You can object to a delay by filing an objection on the record with the court.

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