What is Speedy Trial in Florida Criminal Cases

By Lowry Law Firm | Posted on September 15, 2014

Florida law requires a defendant to be brought to trial within 90 days of arrest for a misdemeanor, and 175 days for a felony. This is called “natural speedy”, because the clock starts on its own, or “naturally”, on the date of arrest. While speedy trial is often waived by the defense in order to properly prepare for trial, this right can be an excellent tool in fighting your charges when you believe the State is not ready to proceed to trial, seen most often in domestic violence cases. Fort Lauderdale Criminal Defense Attorney Mark Lowry is a former prosecutor and experienced defense attorney who has tried over 60 criminal jury trials. Contact Mr. Lowry to learn more about your case, the process in general, and ways to fight your charges.

The 6th Amendment of the US Constitution and Article 1, section 16 of the Florida Constitution guarantee each person accused of a crime the right to a speedy and public trial before an impartial jury. For example, in state court, an accused charged with a misdemeanor and arrested on September 1 must be brought to trial before November 30, the 90th day. Once this date arrives, criminal attorney Mark Lowry would file a motion to discharge, or dismiss, the case. The Court will give the State 5 days to then bring the case to trial, after which, if they cannot do this, the case will be dismissed.

However, often times the defense needs more time to develop its case and properly fight the State’s evidence. If this is true, then its highly recommended to waive your right to a speedy trial and take a defense continuance. Once this is requested and the Court grants it, the “natural speedy” clock stops, yet you still have the right to a speedy trial in the future. If after waiving “natural speedy”, you feel the State is still not able to proceed to trial, attorney Mark Lowry will file a notice of speedy trial, requiring the State to bring you to trial within 60 days of this request. Yet be ready, because by filing this notice, you are stating to the Court you are ready for trial and need no further continuances or any further discovery from the State.

Why would the State not be ready to bring a case to trial? In matters of domestic violence, for example, often times the alleged victim does not want to prosecute, which creates witness problems for the State. If you know the alleged victim in your DV case does not want to prosecute, then we would not waive your “natural speedy” right and force the State to trial immediately. Many times the State is forced to drop, or “nolle pros”, the case because without the alleged victim to testify about what happened, the State cannot prove their case. Other examples of the State not being ready for a case is when an essential officer cannot be found to testify or State’s evidence has gone missing.

If you or someone you love has been cited or arrested for anything, contact criminal attorney Mark Lowry immediately to help understand the criminal process and how to fight your charges. We offer affordable payment plans and 24 hour service 7 days a week.