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How does your rights to a speedy trial work in a DWI case?

Canyon Lake, TX |
Attorney answers 5

Best Answer
Posted

There's no nice, black and white answer to that question anymore in terms of a given amount of time being the deciding factor. How long it takes a case to go to trial certainly is one thing to be considered; however, the major other factors (or at least the easiest ones to explain here) are whether it appears that the defendant really does both want a speedy trial and takes the appropriate steps in a timely manner to communicate that to the court. For example, a delay of a year that's mostly because the defendant or his attorney requested multiple resets due to discovery requests, scheduling conflicts, time needed to consider the plea offer, or a need for the client to pay his attorney followed by one two month continuance at the State's request because a witness could not appear for a scheduled trial date, followed by a motion to dismiss on speedy trial grounds on the eve of the actual trial date would probably not result in a successful speedy trial claim. On the other hand, if the State took six months to get the case filed to begin with, and the defendant requested a trial setting at the first or second court setting, but the State then asked for three or four continuances (or maybe even if the case just got reset for a year or two because the court had an overloaded docket), that might be a more likely scenario for speedy trial relief, especially if the defendant had explicitly requested a speedy trial early in that time line, but not received one for quite some time.

Asker

Posted

Thank you for your informative response, I appreciate it.

M Elizabeth Gunn

M Elizabeth Gunn

Posted

You're welcome--good luck.

Posted

Like my colleague before me said, yes.
But "a speedy trial" is a subjective term.
Talk with your attorney and find out how long the system in your court usually takes.

This is not legal advice. If order to give you legal advice i would need to see the Tickets and talk to the court first. Good luck:)

Posted

I agree with Ms. Foley. Speedy trial rights are largely constitutional in nature and are governed by the appropriate Texas and Federal cases which decided speedy trial claims. In addition to demanding your right to a speedy trial and making sure any delay was not your fault, you must also prove "harm" in the failure of the court to bring your case to trial in a timely fashion. But as a practical matter, it's rarely in someone's best interest to obtain a speedy trial. This is, of course, something best left to your criminal defense lawyer to explain. But after practicing criminal law for over 20 years, the best possible results for the accused come after extended delays. The old adage in criminal defense work is "Deny, Delay, & Defend." In any case, discuss the issue of delay with your lawyer.

Evan Edward Pierce-Jones

Evan Edward Pierce-Jones

Posted

There is a sort of tension between demanding a speedy trial and the benefit delay often brings in undermining the prosecutor's case. Several Texas appeals court decisions have said that thelength of delay needed to trigger constitutional speedy trial rights in Texas courts is considerably less for misdemeanors than for felonies. But, because speedy trial is so dependent on the facts of the case, you should discuss your concerns with your lawyer.

Posted

very rarely. almost never.
As you may have gathered from the preceding answers, there are numerous factors at play here. But the main ones are an Early assertion of the right, Consistent assertion of the right, Proof of Harm when and as the case is delayed, actual Wrong doing or Bad Faith on the part of the State or the Court. Administrative reasons (and they are plentiful) for delays will generally get the state off that hook. Hard "go - no go test" numbers (Your case must be dismissed if it has not been brought to trial before the passage of X number of days) have been abolished for some time, now. If you don't already have an attorney, you need to change that. If you do, s/he wasn't kidding when they said, "almost nobody gets their case dissmissed that way."

This answer is in the nature of general information only and does not constitute legal advice or the formation of an attorney-client relationship.

Posted

The speedy trial statute applies to DWI in the same way it applies to every other felony. It is important to remember that any delays that are caused by the defendant's own motioning or requests for additional time, objections, etc., do not count toward the 60 days or 90 days...whatever the time period may be.

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