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DWI - what is a speedy trial in Texas?

Schertz, TX |

I don't understand the term "speedy trial"...if the trial has not taken place in a certain amount of time, are there grounds for dismissal? What if the charges were files, then dismissed and refiled as a 2nd DWI and it has been 2 years and 2 months since the date of original arrest? County is Comal

Attorney Answers 5


Contact an attorney in that jurisdiction.

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Your question requires a complex legal analysis. You need to discuss this with your attorney. A delay in a case does not automatically require dismissal for lack of a speedy trial. Your attorney will know if he was the cause for some of the delay or if the court itself was so backed up it could not hear your case. Very seldom does the district attorney announce not ready even when they are not ready because they know which cases will go. Generally a delay is to the Defendant's advantage. Memories and witnesses get lost. Speedy trial issues are fact driven. Discuss with your attorney.

The above answer does not create an attorney-client relationship. The information provided is general to anyone, and is not intended to be advice to anyone's specific situation. You should consult an attorney immediately concerning your legal issue. The information provided is not intended to be relied upon as a final or conclusive solution to your situation.

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There are statute of limitations for filing charges, and for when your case must go to trial (if you or your attorney did not waive time). Call an attorney in your area to discuss your case in more detail.

Legal disclaimer: This message does not constitute legal advice and is for informational purposes only. This message does not establish an attorney-client relationship, which can only be established once a retainer agreement has been fully executed between you and this firm.

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The case that most directly addresses the questions you have is Barker v. Wingo. There are four factors that the court will look at but the one that generally trips up defendants is "assertion of the right". Basically, if the defendant doesn't file a motion requesting a speedy trial and doesn't ask for it on the record the defendant will not be able to ask for a dismissal later.

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If your case was in FEDERAL Court, there is a statute referred to as the "Speedy Trial Act" which governs. But your case is in TX state court. I do not practice law in TX but your TX criminal defense attorney will know if there is such a state law or Criminal Rule of Court that governs.

In general, any reasonable cause is acceptable by the trial judge to delay a trial: missing witness, officer in training, additional time for discovery, motion by the defense attorney, the Court's calender, etc.

However there are other factors to assist in support of a motion to dismiss: defendant in custody, defendant's demand for a speedy trial, defense objection to any and all motions to continue, delay substantially prejudicing your rights, etc.

The leading case is Barker vs. Wingo in the US Supreme Court:

U.S. Supreme Court

Barker v. Wingo, 407 U.S. 514 (1972)

Argued April 11, 1972

Decided June 22, 1972

407 U.S. 514


Petitioner was not brought to trial for murder until more than five years after he had been arrested, during which time the prosecution obtained numerous continuances, initially for the purpose of first trying petitioner's alleged accomplice so that his testimony, if conviction resulted, would be available at petitioner's trial. Before the accomplice was finally convicted, he was tried six times. Petitioner made no objection to the continuances until three and one-half years after he was arrested. After the accomplice was finally convicted, petitioner, after further delays because of a key prosecution witness' illness, was tried and convicted. In this habeas corpus proceeding, the Court of Appeals, concluding that petitioner had waived his right to a speedy trial for the period prior to his demand for trial, and, in any event, had not been prejudiced by the delay, affirmed the District Court's judgment against petitioner.

Held: A defendant's constitutional right to a speedy trial cannot be established by any inflexible rule, but can be determined only on an ad hoc balancing basis in which the conduct of the prosecution and that of the defendant are weighed. The court should assess such factors as the length of and reason for the delay, the defendant's assertion of his right, and prejudice to the defendant. In this case, the lack of any serious prejudice to petitioner and the fact, as disclosed by the record, that he did not want a speedy trial outweigh opposing considerations, and compel the conclusion that petitioner was not deprived of his due process right to a speedy trial. Pp. 407 U. S. 519-536.

442 F.2d 1141, affirmed.

POWELL, J., delivered the opinion for a unanimous Court. WHITE, J., filed a concurring opinion, in which BRENNAN, J., joined, post, p. 407 U. S. 536.

Page 407 U. S. 515

I am trying to give you a general answer to your question. We do not have an attorney-client relationship by this response on the avvo website. I have not been retained to represent you. I am licensed to practice law in Kentucky and in federal court in this state and the Southern District of Indiana. You need to seek legal advice from an attorney licensed to practice in your area..

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