What are my rights to a speedy trial?

Asked on July 30, 2015 under Criminal Law, Oklahoma


B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Speedy trial is a right that can be invoked after a defendant is formally charged in the court system.  It is different from the statute of limitations in that the statute of limitations means that a case has to be filed within a certain time period or the state looses their right to prosecute the case against a defendant.  Speedy trial means that once a defendant is charged by an indictment or information that the State must hurry up and give them their day in court. 

The concept of "speedy trial" focuses on a defendant's right to have their case heard before any of the evidence becomes stale.  A defendant should really discuss speedy trial with their attorney before they make a speedy trial request.  There are advantages to making and not making a speedy trial request.

If the state has a good case against a defendant... they may not want to rush to trial.  The defendant or their attorney may need additional time to find evidence to support the defendant's defenses.  By requesting a speedy trial, a defendant could accidentally forfeit their ability to set up their own defense.

If the state's case is terrible... requesting a speedy trial sooner, then it may help to force the case to trial before the state can make any repairs to their case. 

If a defendant files a speedy trial request and the defendant can show that they have lost the ability to present their defense because evidence has gone stale, then they would have the additional right to seek a dismissal of their charges for speedy trial violations.

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