What is a Speedy Trial?

Speedy trial.

What is a Speedy Trial?

A defendant’s right to a speedy trial is written into the Sixth Amendment of the United States Constitution, in which:

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense.

This right is also afforded in Article II of the Arizona Constitution, which reads:

In criminal prosecutions, the accused shall have the right to appear and defend in person, and by counsel, to demand the nature and cause of the accusation against him, to have a copy thereof, to testify in his own behalf, to meet the witnesses against him face to face, to have compulsory process to compel the attendance of witnesses in his own behalf, to have a speedy public trial by an impartial jury of the county in which the offense is alleged to have been committed, and the right to appeal in all cases; and in no instance shall any accused person before final judgment be compelled to advance money or fees to secure the rights herein guaranteed.

This makes a speedy trial a human right in which a criminal defendant cannot have their trial delayed indefinitely or needlessly. In some cases, a defendant will be held in jail until their court date. Without the protection of a speedy trial, a defendant could be jailed indefinitely as a result of a severely delayed trial setting.

Speedy Trial – Arizona’s Rule 8

The Arizona Rules of Criminal Procedure’s Rule 8 lays out all the regulations regarding speedy trials in criminal proceedings. A court must try every defendant within the following times after their arraignment:

  • 150 Days – For defendants in custody.
  • 180 Days – For defendants out of custody (except in complex cases, below).
  • 270 Days – For defendants with complex cases, including those with charges of first-degree murder.
  • 24 Months – For cases in which the death penalty is sought.

This time may only be extended in certain situations, such as a defendant’s incompetence, disclosure delays, continuance delays, and extenuating circumstances.

Why Would Someone Waive Their Right to a Speedy Trial?

In some cases, a defendant may be best served by waiving their right to a speedy trial. An experienced defense attorney will know when this is best. Often, this occurs when a defense attorney feels the defendant’s strongest case cannot be built within the speedy trial time constraints.

Common reasons to waive the right to a speedy trial include:

  • Obtaining a case evaluation and report from an expert, such as an investigator, physician, or scientist.
  • Negotiating with the prosecutor to work out a favorable deal in lieu of going to trial.
  • Locating and interviewing witnesses.
  • Obtaining disclosure that is only available through lengthier means, such as subpoenas.
  • Ensuring that the defense has a chance to enter all motions, responses, or other pleadings that are useful to the defendant.
  • Allowing the defense time to fully review all discovery, especially if there is an overwhelming amount.

Waiving a speedy trial is typically something that benefits the defendant rather than the prosecution, so this is an important strategy for a defendant to discuss with their defense attorney. However, invoking a client’s speedy trial rights can be beneficial for a client who is incarcerated and unable secure a release in order to minimize the time spent incarcerated.

Rideout Law Group utilizes both tactics depending on the case and the Defendant’s situation in order to build the strongest defense as well as achieve the most favorable outcome.


With offices in Lake Havasu City and Scottsdale, our firm serves the entire state of Arizona, with a particular focus on criminal defense, family law, and juvenile cases.

Our goal is for the best outcome for your criminal case, which can include:

  • charges that are reduced or dropped.
  • top experts reviewing your case.
  • aggressive negotiations with the prosecution for plea bargains.
  • fines or probation in lieu of jail time.

At Rideout Law Group, our attorneys are able to expertly examine the evidence in your case to provide a strong strategy for argument that leads to an outcome that is most favorable to you. We have experience in all types of criminal cases for both adults and juveniles, with positive outcomes both in plea negotiations as well as jury trial settings.

Call us today for a free consultation at 480-584-3328.

Scroll to Top
This site is registered on wpml.org as a development site. Switch to a production site key to remove this banner.