The Constitution exists to make sure that the government does not abuse its powers. By giving the federal government certain powers, and then stating that it can do nothing else, the Constitution provides a solid constraint on the government. Additionally, the Bill of Rights is another rock wall that protects your individual rights against the government.
One of the areas of most concern in the Bill of Rights is the criminal process, when the government tries to take away someone’s liberty because they have been accused of a crime. Noting that this is the time when the government is most likely to overstep its bounds, the Bill of Rights provides criminal defendants, or potential criminal defendants, with a handful of rights that cannot be violated.
Your Sixth Amendment Right to a Speedy Trial
Like most of the individual rights guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution, your right to a speedy trial under the Sixth Amendment has been tempered over the years by decisions from the U.S. Supreme Court. Because of these decisions, it is unfortunately not the case that any delay in the process that starts with being charged with a crime, and ends with going to trial for that charge, becomes a violation of your Sixth Amendment right to a speedy trial.
The Delay has to be Uncommonly Long
In order for your right to a speedy trial to be violated, the delay before trial has to be uncommonly long. Of course, what “uncommonly long” means can vary, depending on the situation. However, one of the main factors in determining whether a delay has been “uncommonly long” is whether it negatively impacted your case, or prejudiced you in some way.
The Government is to Blame for the Delay
If the government was not to blame for the delay between accusation and trial, then your constitutional rights to a speedy trial will not be deemed to be violated. In order to claim a violation of your right to a speedy trial, the delays must have been caused by the slowness of the government’s investigation, not your own defense to the case.
You Have to Exercise Your Right
Finally, in order to claim that your right to a speedy trial has been violated, you need to assert your right to be tried quickly. If you do not exercise your right to a speedy trial, then no violation of your right can occur.
The Federal Criminal Law Center Fights for Your Rights
If your right to a speedy trial is violated because of a delay in the criminal justice system, then the criminal charges against you will be dismissed. This makes a speedy trial violation an important defense to serious federal criminal charges.
The Federal Criminal Law Center fights for your rights and your interests in court against federal charges. Our attorneys defend against crimes like tax fraud, immigration crimes, and other criminal charges that get pursued by the federal government. If you are facing federal charges for a crime, contact the Federal Criminal Law Center.