Posted on 11/21/22

Defendants charged with a crime have the right to a speedy trial. The Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution guarantees that “in all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial.” The Texas Constitution also guarantees the right to a speedy trial, but neither source nor any Texas statute defines precisely how quick a “speedy” trial must be.

Whether Texas defendants have been obtaining speedy trials is a matter that has received news coverage recently. Many defendants in Texas have been confined in jails for multiple years, unable to make bond. The longer the accused waits for their trial, the more evidence can be lost, witnesses can disappear, and the defendant can suffer from a weaker legal defense.

What Constitutes a “Speedy Trial” Under Texas Law?

Some people wait a significantly long time before they are finally able to have their day in court. These lengthy-time lapses may violate the inmate’s right to a speedy trial under the Sixth Amendment. Determining an exact time frame for a speedy trial is more complicated. Instead, it is a complex area of law. Suppose you suspect you or your loved one have not received a speedy trial. In that case, it is crucial that you reach out to an experienced attorney who can help you understand whether your constitutional rights have been violated. 

Proving a Violation of Your Constitutional Rights

If your right to a speedy trial has been violated, there is a silver lining. If you and your attorney can prove that you were deprived of your Sixth Amendment rights, the court will have the authority to dismiss their criminal charges against you entirely. The sole remedy for violating a defendant’s right to a speedy trial is a dismissal of all criminal charges. Therefore, judges are hesitant to find that a defendant’s right to a speedy trial has been violated. Proving that your rights have been denied can be burdensome, so you should reach out to an experienced attorney as soon as possible.

Although it is rare for criminal charges to be dismissed because of this type of violation, it is possible. For example, if a DWI case was pending for three years before the court scheduled a trial date, the judge may likely dismiss the charges based on Sixth Amendment violations. This is especially true when the state of Texas cannot show a valid reason for the delay of the defendant’s trial. Judges are more likely to dismiss the charges when a defendant’s liberty and rights have been restrained because they are under suspicion of committing a crime. In these cases, defense attorneys can file a Motion to Dismiss for Violation of a Right to a Speedy Trial.

Discuss Your Case With a Criminal Defense Attorney

If you waited for months or years, your Sixth Amendment right to a speedy trial might have been violated by the state of Texas. You may be able to petition the court to dismiss the charges against you. Contact Abel Law Firm today to schedule your free case evaluation.

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