U.S. citizens have the Constitutional right to receive a speedy trial. The state of California supports this right through Penal Code 1382. PC 1382 covers the state’s speedy trial rules. These rules detail when a criminal trial must begin after an arraignment hearing for misdemeanor or felony charges.
You can find out more about these rules with the Simmrin Law Group. Reach out to us for answers to your questions. We are ready to help you right now.
The Right to a Speedy Trial
The Constitution grants individuals in the United States the right to have a speedy trial. This right is covered in the Sixth Amendment. The state of California also guarantees this right in Article 1, Section 15 of its state constitution.
Basically, the right to a speedy trial means the court system must move with reasonable speed after an individual is arraigned. During the arraignment, an individual learns about the specific charges they face. Arraignment hearings generally occur quickly after an arrest.
A criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles can walk you through the steps of a criminal hearing. Find out more by contacting us now.
Why a Speedy Trial Is Important
There are many reasons that the right to a speedy trial is important. Those facing accusations of a crime have rights. Everyone knows how under the law, you are innocent until proven guilty. While that is true in the legal sense, the same ideal does not always hold up in the court of public opinion.
By delaying a trial, an innocent person could have their name dragged through the mud. Their reputation may take some time to rebuild, even if the court rules in their favor. Additionally, a speedy trial protects the rights of a defendant by:
- Avoiding unfair time in jail while awaiting trial
- Protecting the ability of the defendant to defend themselves
- Diminishing anxiety and stress as the defendant waits to learn their fate
On the other hand, a defendant may choose to waive their right to a speedy trial. Your lawyer will advise you if a delay might help in building your case and giving you a better chance of acquittal.
California’s Speedy Trial Rules Under PC 1382
PC 1382 deals with the practical application of the right to receive a speedy trial. PC 1382 sets limits on when trial proceedings must begin for criminal cases. There are different time limits for misdemeanor and felony charges.
Speedy Trial Rules for a Misdemeanor Charge
Misdemeanor charges are considered less serious in Los Angeles. The court has 30 days to begin criminal proceedings for misdemeanor cases. This time limit starts after an arraignment hearing or after the defendant enters a plea. Defendants in California can plead:
- No contest
- Not guilty
Note that this rule also applies to infractions here in California. However, there are exceptions if the defendant is in custody. In this case, the Superior Court can wait up to 45 days before beginning a criminal trial.
Speedy Trial Rules for a Felony Charge
The court system has a longer period to begin a criminal trial when dealing with felony charges. Felonies are treated more seriously in California. The court has up to 60 days to start a criminal trial after:
- An individual is arraigned
- A new trial is granted after the initial case ends in a mistrial
- A case gets reinstated after a dismissal
As you can see, the rules are not quite the same for misdemeanors and felonies. The Simmrin Law Group can help you understand the differences.
Exceptions to the Speedy Trial Rules in California
You should know there are a few exceptions to the speedy trial rules in California. These exceptions allow the court to take longer to start a criminal trial. The court can take longer to start a trial if the accused:
- Consents to wait
- Request a later trial date
- Enters a time waiver to set aside the rules
Furthermore, the court sometimes decides whether there is a good cause to delay a trial. There is no special list of “good” reasons to delay a trial. However, there are a number of examples of these reasons for a delay. The court can wait to handle a case if:
- The prosecution or defense discovers new evidence
- The case is very complex
- The case involves multiple defendants
- There were errors when filing the case
- The accused is incapacitated for some reason
Results of the Denial of a Speedy Trial
Individuals in the United States have the constitutional right to a speedy trial. If the court fails to provide a speedy trial, individuals can actually move to get their charges dismissed. A criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles can file a “Serna motion” in this situation.
During a Serna motion hearing, the judge assesses whether the individual was denied a speedy trial. The judge can then dismiss the individual’s charges in this situation.
When Your Charges Can Be Dismissed
When your lawyer files a Serna motion to have your case dismissed under the U.S. Constitution, the judge will review multiple factors to consider whether the delay constitutes grounds for dismissal. The main things that a judge will weigh in making this determination are:
- The length of the delay
- The reason for the delay given by the prosecution
- Whether an effort was made on your part to speed up the process during the delay
- If the case against you was unfairly prejudiced as a result of the delay
A delay on its own does not guarantee that your charges will get dismissed. The reasons for the delay and whether or not the delay harmed your case are important factors that the judge will consider before making their ruling.
Ask a Lawyer About Speedy Trial Rules in California
Penal Code 1382 covers the right to a speedy trial in California. All citizens of California are constitutionally promised a speedy trial. If you were denied a speedy trial, the Simmrin Law Group could help you. We can also file a Serna motion on your behalf.
Find out more by calling us. You can also fill out our online contact form. Reach a criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles now. We’ll help you discuss your case with a free consultation.