Florida Court Discusses the Sixth Amendment Right to a Speedy Trial

The United States Constitution grants people numerous rights, including the right to a speedy trial. As such, if the State violates the Constitutional rights of a criminal defendant, it may result in a dismissal of the charges against him or her. The evidence needed to prove charges should be dismissed due to a speedy trial violation was the topic of a recent Florida opinion in a case in which the defendant was charged with fraud and identity theft. If you are accused of fraud or any other crime, it is prudent to speak to a knowledgeable Clearwater criminal defense lawyer regarding your rights.

The Procedural History of the Case

It is alleged that in January 2017, a grand jury indicted the defendant on three counts of fraud and identity theft in violation of federal law. The conduct out of which the indictment arose occurred from July 2015 through June 2016. The court issued an arrest warrant in January 2017, and one month later, the warrant was transferred to fugitive status.

Reportedly, the defendant was arrested in February 2021 in her clothing store, and she was arraigned shortly thereafter. In March 2021, she filed a motion for dismissal of her indictment on the grounds that her Sixth Amendment right to a speedy trial was violated. After reviewing the facts of the case, the court granted the motion.

Proving a Violation of a Defendant’s Right to a Speedy Trial

The Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution provides that, in all criminal matters, an individual accused of a crime has the right to a public and speedy trial. The court explained that the Sixth Amendment right to a speedy trial arises when a defendant is arrested, indicted, or is otherwise officially accused of a crime and continues until the date of trial.

The court noted, therefore, that the Government has a constitutional duty to make a good-faith, diligent effort to find and apprehend a defendant and bring him or her to trial. The courts conduct a balancing test to determine whether the right to a speedy trial has been violated. Specifically, the courts will look at the length of and reason for the delay, the defendant’s assertion of the right to a speedy trial, and the prejudice the defendant suffered due to the delay.

If the delay is long enough to be presumptively prejudicial, it will trigger an analysis of the other facts. A delay that lasts longer than a year is presumed to be prejudicial. Here, the court found that the factors weighed in favor of dismissal of the case. Thus, it granted the defendant’s motion.

Speak to a Trusted Clearwater Attorney

Criminal defendants have a right to be tried in a timely fashion, and if they are not, it could provide grounds for a dismissal of the charges against them. If you are accused of fraud or any other criminal offense, it is advisable to speak to an attorney about your potential defenses as soon as possible. William Hanlon of Hanlon Law is a trusted Clearwater criminal defense attorney who can advise you of your options and help you seek the best outcome available under the facts of your case. You can reach Mr. Hanlon through the online form or by calling 727-897-5413 to schedule a conference.

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