If you are arrested and charged with a criminal offense in San Diego, California you have a number of rights as an accused. One of those rights is the right to a speedy trial. You have likely heard of this right before but may not understand how it actually applies in a real case. Both the United States Constitution and the State of California Constitution guarantee you the right to a speedy trial; however, it may not play out precisely how you envision. Moreover, it isn’t always in your best interest to push for a speedy trial.
Your speedy trial rights depend on a number of factors such as whether you are charged with a misdemeanor or a felony and whether you are in or out of custody. For purposes of determining speedy trial rights, the “clock” starts ticking when you make your first appearance before a judge or magistrate at your arraignment. For a misdemeanor, you have a right to a jury trial within 30 days after your arraignment of you are in custody or within 45 days of you are out of custody (made bail).
If you are charged with a felony, the calculations for speedy trial purposes are a bit different because there is a hearing after your arraignment that counts. After your initial arraignment you will have a preliminary hearing. You have a right to have that hearing held within ten days of your arraignment. After the preliminary hearing the “clock” starts ticking again for purposes of your speedy trial rights. From your preliminary hearing date you have a right to a jury trial within 60 days.
While these are all time frames that apply to your speedy trial rights, there are a wide variety of factors that can impact your speedy trial rights. You, yourself, can “toll” the clock by doing things such as asking for additional time to hire an attorney or asking for a continuance for any reason. Moreover, it is not always in your best interest to push for a speedy trial. Sometimes, witnesses that are anxious to testify against you today, for example, move away or lose interest if the case drags out.
Because of the variables that can impact speedy trial clock and the numerous reasons why you might not want to push for a speedy trial in San Diego California it is always best to consult with an experienced California criminal defense attorney prior to making an issue of your speedy trial rights with the court.