Published in:November 10, 2015
The Right to a Speedy Trial in Texas
The government, not the defendant, has the burden of bringing cases to court, but how long does a defendant have to wait to get to court? The answer is not clear.
In this article, we explain your right to a speedy trial in Texas and what to do if the wheels of justice are turning too slowly. But first, watch this video from attorney Steve Baker.
What is the right to a speedy trial?
Underconstituicion FederalIt's intexas constitutionThe accused is guaranteed the right to a speedy trial in criminal proceedings. But neither the source nor Texas law defines "fast." This means that once a person is charged, either by arrest or indictment, they can wait months or even years before being brought to justice. During this waiting game, evidence can be lost and witnesses disappear, weakening the defendant's defense.
The good thing about this game is that if the court determines that the defendant has been denied the right to a speedy trial, the defendant's charges can be dismissed altogether. However, since the only remedy is a dismissal, the courts are reluctant to rule that the right to a speedy trial has been denied. This means that defendants may carry a heavy burden when they claim that they have been denied their constitutional right to a speedy trial in Texas.
It can still happen. Recently, the case of one of our clients was closed due to an unreasonable delay in processing. Client was charged in Dallas CountyDWI- a case that was pending almost three years before a trial date was set. We request his release for violating his right to a speedy trial. We argued that the reason for the delay was invalid and that "the defendant's freedom was restricted because he was under constant suspicion of having committed this crime."
The Dallas County District Attorney's Office later agreed to dismiss the case in the "interests of fairness because the state will not prevail over a motion to dismiss for violation of due process rights."
When was the right to a speedy trial violated?
A defendant's right to a speedy trial is violated if there is an unreasonable delay between the filing of charges and trial that results in a disadvantage to the defendant. First, there must be a delay that is "presumably disadvantageous". The court then examines whether the right to a speedy trial has been denied. To do this, Texas courts use a balance test introduced by the Supreme Court.Barker contra Wingo.
What is "suspected adverse" delay?
In assessing whether a defendant has been denied the right to a speedy trial, there must first be a delay that is "presumed to be disadvantageous." There is no set deadline to arouse suspicion, but a delay of about a year is sufficient for a speedy investigation of the court case.or and against the state, 254 SO 3d 560 (Tex. App. Fort Worth 2008). Once the presumed injurious delay has been determined, the courtthiefBalancing test to determine if the defendant has been deprived of his right to a speedy trial and therefore has the right to liberty.
There is Barker equilibrium test
UnderthiefIn the weighting test, the court evaluates four factors:
- If the delay was unusually long;
- whether the reason for the delay was justified;
- If the defendant asserted his right; Y
- If the delay resulted in harm to the defendant.
Barker contra Wingo, 407 US 514 (1972).
Of the four factors, the State bears the burden of proving the first two factors and the defendant bears the burden of proving the other two factors. The court will weigh the factors individually and collectively to determine whether they weigh in favor of the state or the defendant. If the majority of the factors favor the defendant, the court may find that the defendant's rights have been violated and drop the charges.
Obligation of the Defendant: Affirmation of Justice and Damage to Your Case
To invoke deprivation of the right to a speedy trial, the defendant must have exercised his right to a speedy trial. Failure to administer justice can be seen as the defendant not wanting a speedy trial rather than not wanting a trial.sing v. terms, 253 S.W.3d 273, 283 (Tex. Crim. App. 2008). In addition, the court may interpret the failure to execute the claim as an indication that the defendant has not suffered any harm as a result of the delay.dragon against the state, 96 S.W.3d 308, 314 (Tex. Crim. App. 2003). The defendant may assert his right by giving clear and unequivocal notice to the court or the prosecutor in order to obtain a speedy trial. However, a request to archive on the basis of the right to an expedited procedure cannot be considered as an assertion of the right to an expedited procedure, but rather as a wish not to proceed with the procedure.Adkins vs. State, Knowledge. 2-01-288-CR, 2003 WL 1524138, at *4 (Tex. App. - Fort Worth, March 24, 2003, Pet. Ref'd).
Public Charge: Length of Delay and Reason for Delay
There is no specific delay that constitutes a violation of the right to a speedy trial. In addition, parts of the delay can be attributed to the defendant, who is at his own expense.kelly vs state, 163 S.W.3d 722 (Tex. Crim. App. 2005). However, if there is a conscious attempt to delay the process in order to undermine the defense, this factor would weigh heavily on the State.strong against the state, 266 S.W.3d 605 (Tex. App. El Paso 2008). Common neutral events, such as full lists, weigh less against the state.Zamorano vs. Terms,84 S.W.3d 643 (Tex. Crim. App. 2002).
While courts are reluctant to find that a defendant has been denied this constitutional right, and a defendant may shoulder most of the burden, it is not impossible. The key to making this claim is correctly asserting the right to a speedy trial in Texas. It must be declared in a timely and frequent manner in a manner adequate to inform the court and the prosecutor of the defendant's desire for a speedy trial. One small misstep could cause the court to conclude that the right was never enforced.
The right to a speedy trial was not denied
|Harris gegen State, 827 S.W.2d 949 (Tex, Crim. App. 1992).||capital murder||13 fun|
|State vs. USA. Greenlee, 2007 WL 2460045 (Tex. App. Tyler Aug. 31, 2007, Pet RefÕd).||illegal possession||13 fun|
|Deeb gegen State, 815 S.W.2d 692 (Tex. Crim. App. 1991)||Capital murder conspiracy||15 fun|
|Kelly gegen State, 163 S.W.3d 722 (Tex. Crim. App. 2005)||simple possession of drugs||17 fun|
|Bryan v. State, 2007 WL 1133216 (Tex. App. San Antonio, Apr 18, 2007, no pet)||possession of drug paraphernalia||18 fun|
|Webb gegen State, 36 S.W.3d 164 (Tex. App. Houston [14th Dist.] 2000, mascota refÕd)||felony sexual assault||20 fun|
|Mendez v. State, 212 S.W.3d 382 (Tex. App. Austin 2006, Pet. Ref'd)||serious bodily injury||23 fun|
|ortega v. State, 2015 WL 4594113 (Tex. App. Houston [14th Dist.] July 30, 2015)||possession of a gaming device||more than 27 months|
|Massey v. Status, 2004 WL 2307418 (Tx. App. Houston [1st Dist.] Oct 14, 2004, no pets)||heavy robbery||28 fun|
|Philips v. Estado, 2004 WL 299279 (Tex. App. Texarkana 2004-Feb-18, No Pet.)||attack (by police)||28 fun|
|Adkins v. USA. State, 2003 WL 1524138 (Tex. App. Fort Worth, Mar 24, 2003, Pet. Ref'd);||possession with intent to deliver||32 fun|
|State v. Smith, 76 S.W.3d 541 (Tex. App. Houston [14th Dist.] 2002, pet. ref'd)||Robbery and Attempted Serious Bodily Harm||more than 3 years|
|Harlan v. State, 975 S.W.2d 387 (Tex. App. Tyler 1998, Pet. Ref'd)||DWI||4 years and 5 months|
|Ex parte Buche, 591 S.W.2d 502 (Tex. Crim. App. 1979)||acceleration||8 years|
Denied the right to a speedy trial
|Gonzales v. State, 435 S.W.3d 801 (Tex. Crim. App. 2014).||Harm to a child and indecency with a child||6 years|
|State v. Wei, 447 S.W.3d 549, 554 (Tex. App. – Houston [14th Dist.] 2014).||DWI||4 years and 3 months|
|Zamorano v. State, 84 S.W.3d 643 (Tex. Crim. App. 2002).||DWI||4 years|
|Chapman v. Evans, 744 S.W.2d 133 (Tex. Crim. App. 1998).||Delivery of controlled substances||2 years and 6 months|
|Turner gegen State, 545 S.W.2d 133 (Tex Crim. App. 1976).||crime robbery||2 years and 3 months|
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Still, eight months is the magic number -- after a wait of that duration, a court will fully evaluate whether a person has waited too long for the trial under a speedy trial analysis. The courts consider four factors when deciding whether a speedy trial right has been violated: Length of delay.Which four elements are used to determine if a defendant's right to a speedy trial has been violated? ›
The test requires the court to consider the length of the delay, the cause of the delay, the defendant's assertion of his right to a speedy trial, and the presence or absence of prejudice resulting from the delay. Barker, 407 U.S. at 530-533. In United States v.Is Texas innocent until proven guilty? ›
Sec. 2.01. PROOF BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT. All persons are presumed to be innocent and no person may be convicted of an offense unless each element of the offense is proved beyond a reasonable doubt.What are the four factors used to determine whether a speedy trial violation has occurred? ›
Wingo (407 US 514 (1972)) for assessing pretrial speedy trial issues: (1) the length of the delay; (2) the reasons for the delay; (3) the appellant's assertion of the right to timely review and appeal; and (4) prejudice; an analysis requires determining which factors favor the government or the appellant and then ...How do I get charges dropped before court date? ›
- Formal acquittal. ...
- Discontinuance. ...
- Lack of evidence. ...
- Evidence against you was illegally obtained. ...
- The prosecution is not in the public interest. ...
- To buy time to prepare for a later trial.
As a practical matter, the filing of a case requires only a brief narrative stating probable cause and many agencies now file electronically. Beyond the arrest the D.A.'s office has 90 days in which to indict the case by presenting a case to the grand jury and securing a True Bill.What guaranteed the right to a speedy trial? ›
The Sixth Amendment guarantees the rights of criminal defendants, including the right to a public trial without unnecessary delay, the right to a lawyer, the right to an impartial jury, and the right to know who your accusers are and the nature of the charges and evidence against you.What are the three things a plaintiff must prove to the court to establish a right to compensation in an action against another? ›
- the remedy that the plaintiff asked for in the pleadings;
- the facts; and.
- how to compensate the plaintiff.
Three factors must be present before the U.S. Supreme Court will review a state court decision: A substantial federal question must be present. Must be a real question. If the issue was a long-settled one, then no question exists.What is the biggest flaw in the Texas justice system? ›
- Appellate Judges Are Elected. In Texas, appellate judges are not appointed but elected. ...
- Inadequate Public Defender System. ...
- Tough Penalties Include Mandatory Sentences. ...
- Focusing on Punishment Instead of Rehabilitation.
The prosecutor can dismiss or drop the charges when there are errors in the criminal complaint. Prosecutor's discretion. In rare cases, a prosecutor may dismiss criminal charges when there are extenuating circumstances.What is beyond a reasonable doubt in Texas? ›
It is the kind of doubt that would make a reasonable person hesitate to act in the most important of his own affairs. Proof beyond a reasonable doubt, therefore, must be proof of such a convincing character that you would be willing to rely and act upon it without hesitation in the most important of your own affairs.What is the most important factor in a trial? ›
According to results, the presentation of the facts by the defense attorney is the factor that most strongly influences jurors. Other variables, in order of influence, are presentation of facts by the witnesses, by the prosecuting attorney, by the judge, and by the defendant.What are some factors that a judge may consider when determining a sentence? ›
A judge must impose a sentence that is sufficient, but not greater than necessary, to: reflect the seriousness of the offense; promote respect for the law; provide just punishment for the offense; adequately deter criminal conduct; protect the public from further crimes by the defendant; and provide the defendant with ...What are the four criteria in determining if a delay has violated the constitutional protection? ›
(an appellate court weighs the following four factors to determine if there is a Sixth Amendment speedy trial violation: (1) the length of the delay; (2) the reasons for the delay; (3) the accused's demand for a speedy trial; and (4) the prejudice to the accused).Can the victim drop charges? ›
While a victim is able to file a complaint against the accused, they can also choose to no longer participate in the case, and thus request that the charges be dropped.Can a case be withdrawn during trial? ›
Before the judgement is stated, a request for withdrawal from prosecution can be submitted at any moment. So, between the time the Court takes cognizance of the matter and the time the Court, all things considered, articulates the judgement, the Public Prosecutor may file an application for withdrawal from prosecution.What evidence is needed for assault? ›
Otherwise good reliable eye-witness evidence or good quality photographs accompanied by descriptions of the extent of the injuries will suffice for other summary assault cases.Does a felony go away after 7 years in Texas? ›
People often ask me whether a criminal conviction falls off their record after seven years. The answer is no.Can a felony be dismissed in Texas? ›
Crimes That Cannot Be Expunged in Texas
With limited exceptions, a person cannot get a criminal record expunged if they were convicted of a felony, one of the many consequences of a felony conviction.
The prosecutor can secure an indictment if at least 9 of the 12 grand jurors vote to indict the accused when there is sufficient evidence to establish probable cause of their guilt. If there aren't at least nine votes from grand jurors, the prosecutor cannot secure an indictment.What is one exception to the defendant's right to a speedy trial? ›
In many jurisdictions, the prosecution generally has 60 to 120 days in which to bring an imprisoned defendant to trial. The exception to this would be if the defendant waives their right to a speedy trial. If the defendant is out of custody, the time period is generally extended.What does I plead the 8th mean? ›
By Micah Schwartzbach, Attorney. The Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution prohibits the infliction of "cruel and unusual punishments." Virtually every state constitution also has its own prohibition against such penalties.Does every person has the right to speedy trial? ›
Section 14, Article III, of the Philippine Constitution says an accused has the right to “speedy, impartial, and public trial,” and Section 16 says all persons have the right to a “speedy disposition of their cases” before any judicial body.What is the most difficult element of negligence to prove? ›
Many articles discuss what negligence is and how to prove it, but the least understood element among these four is causation. Additionally, out of these four elements, causation is typically the most difficult to prove, especially in medical malpractice cases.What two things must be proven in a court of law before it will convict someone of a crime? ›
In order to convict the defendant, these elements of a crime must then be proven in a court of law beyond a reasonable doubt. Most crimes require that three essential elements be present: a criminal act (actus reus), criminal intent (mens rea), and a concurrence of the previous two elements.Which three things must a plaintiff prove to succeed in an action for negligence? ›
There are specific elements that a plaintiff (the injured party) must prove in order to make a negligence claim. These are duty of care, breach and causation. If a plaintiff successfully proves these three elements, then the final part of a negligence claim involves damages.How does a court determine whether or not it is entitled to hear a case? ›
In the Supreme Court, if four Justices agree to review the case, then the Court will hear the case. This is referred to as "granting certiorari," often abbreviated as "cert." If four Justices do not agree to review the case, the Court will not hear the case.Which criteria do the Supreme Court use to determine whether it will hear a case? ›
A case must involve an issue of federal law or otherwise fall within the jurisdiction of federal courts. A case that involves only an issue of state law or parties within a state will likely stay within the state court system where that state's supreme court would be the last step.Why would the Supreme Court deny review of a case? ›
The Court is likely to deny review if the lower court also ruled against the party on an alternative ground, if there is doubt about the Court's jurisdiction to decide the question, or if the Court would have to resolve some other difficult factual or legal question in order to decide the question presented.
The Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution guarantees the accused's right to a speedy trial. In addition, Article I, § 10 of the Texas Constitution guarantees the accused in all criminal prosecutions the right to a speedy and public trial.What constitutes a speedy trial in Texas? ›
In assessing whether a defendant has been deprived of his speedy trial right, there must first exist a delay that is “presumptively prejudicial.” There is no set time frame that triggers the presumption, but a delay approaching one year is sufficient to trigger a speedy trial inquiry.How long does it take to get a court date for a felony in Texas? ›
For felony cases, this means defendants have the right to have a case be brought to trial within 60 days after the date of the arraignment.How long after indictment is trial in Texas? ›
After Indictment, How Long Before Trial? How long after arraignment is trial? Your preliminary hearing typically takes place about ten days after your arraignment if you've been in jail, or 20 days if you're not in jail. Your trial needs to begin no more than 180 days after your arrest.Can a judge dismiss a criminal case in Texas? ›
Generally, a trial court does not have the power to dismiss a case unless the prosecutor so requests. See id. at 613. A trial court does, however, have the power to dismiss a case without the State's consent under Texas Code of Criminal Procedure Article 32.01.How do I get a criminal case dismissed in Texas? ›
- Lack of cooperation from the alleged victim. ...
- Lack of evidence. ...
- Evidence of innocence. ...
- Fourth Amendment violations. ...
- The defendant's cooperation. ...
- Procedural errors. ...
- Insufficient resources. ...
- Criminal complaint errors.
If you are accused of a felony, the trial should begin within 6 months of your arrest, and last between 2 months and a year. Misdemeanor cases last for a shorter time. Usually, the length of a trial depends on its complexity.
Dismissal in the interest of justice allows a court to dismiss a procedurally proper, but unjust or unjustifiable, cause of action. Thus, dismissing cases in the interest of justice can provide a check where few exist for overzealous prosecutions, race-based patrolling, and overuse of “three strikes” laws.Can a felony be dropped in Texas? ›
Whether you're in Travis County, Williamson County, or any other county in Texas, a felony case can be dropped down to a misdemeanor. So, can a felony case be dropped down to a misdemeanor? Yes, yes it can. Felonies normally get dropped down to a misdemeanor through plea bargaining.What happens if you are not indicted in 180 days in Texas? ›
180 days after being arrested, if you have not been indicted, you can get any limitations on your liberty imposed as a condition of your bond removed. You may also be able to get the amount of your bond reduced, possibly even to a personal recognizance bond.
If the grand jury finds that there is enough evidence for the case to go forward, they will issue an indictment. Once the grand jury issues an indictment, an arraignment hearing will occur within about two to four weeks after an indictment has been handed down.