Reasons to Waive Your Right to a Speedy Trial

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By: Bill Henry
PublishedDec 2, 2020
2 minute read

Waiving your right to a speedy trial does not always make sense. However, there are circumstances where an attorney thinks it is appropriate for their client to waive right to a speedy trial. For example, if your attorney needs more time to review evidence for your case. Another instance would be you need to get a lawyer.

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3 Reasons Why You Might Waive Your Right to a Speedy Trial

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Why You May be Advised to Waive Your Right to a Speedy Trial

What is the right to a speedy trial in Colorado?

It’s a combination of the constitution in statutory rules in Colorado is basically once you say not guilty in County or district court, they have 180 days to schedule your trial. And theoretically speaking if they can’t get the trial done within those 180 days they being the court, then the case would be dismissed and they wouldn’t be able to refile the charge.

The legal right to a speedy trial in Colorado is a combination of constitutional and statutory rules. When you plead not guilty in county or district court, the court has 180 days, or six months, to schedule your trial.

Theoretically, if the court cannot get the trial done within 180 days, the case will be dismissed, and the prosecution cannot refile the charges.

Don’t expect this to occur. The courts almost always get to a trial within the six-month timeframe.

Exceptions to a Speedy Trial

Now, there are exceptions to a right to a speedy trial that the prosecution can use to get a continuance. For instance, if the prosecution cannot locate a witness, the prosecutor can request more time. Another scenario that would delay a trial would be a global pandemic.

Why the Right to a Speedy Trial Exists

You’ve likely heard of the term bond. It’s a court-set fee, if you will, that some people must pay before they can be released from jail before his or her trial. Well, there are individuals who do not have the financial means to pay their bond.

If you’re unable to post bond, you must remain in jail until your trial. So the right to a speedy trial prevents people from being indefinitely held in jail.

Waive Right to a Speedy Trial?

Probably Not: Cannot Make Bond

If you cannot make your bond and you are still in jail, you probably will not want to waive your right to a speedy trial because you’ll want to get to court as soon as possible.

Maybe: Negotiate a Better Disposition

Assuming you are able to make your bond to get out of jail, let’s say your attorney is in negotiations with the district attorney, and new information comes along. Your attorney may tell you it may be in your best interest to waive your right to a speedy trial  so you can explore the new information and continue negotiations with the prosecutor.

Maybe: More Time to Get Ready for Trial

If you have retained a new attorney, you may want to waive your right to a speedy trial if the new lawyer needs proper time to prepare your defense for trial.

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