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Understanding Your Right to a Speedy Trial in Tampa, Florida

by | Apr 17, 2024 | Criminal Law

In the realm of criminal defense, the right to a speedy trial is fundamental, safeguarding the accused from prolonged legal uncertainty and potential detention. In Tampa, Florida, the attorneys at Brunvand Wise, P.A., are well-versed in navigating these critical timelines and protecting your constitutional rights. This post delves into what happens if the State doesn’t meet its obligation to provide a speedy trial, emphasizing local and state law implications.

The Constitutional Foundation

The Sixth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution guarantees every individual charged with a crime the right to a “speedy and public trial.” Similarly, the Florida Constitution enshrines this right, ensuring that, upon demand, criminal defendants can press for timely justice. These protections are designed to prevent the government from leaving criminal charges indefinitely unresolved, which can disrupt lives and lead to unjust incarceration.

Florida’s Specific Requirements

The Florida Supreme Court has codified these rights in Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.191. According to this rule, trials for misdemeanors must commence within 90 days of arrest, and felony trials within 175 days. The clock starts ticking from the moment of custody, directly tied to the conduct causing the arrest. However, there are nuances, such as what constitutes being taken into custody and potential waivers of the right to a speedy trial.

Waiving the Right to a Speedy Trial

There are strategic reasons why someone might waive their right to a speedy trial. Preparing a robust defense often requires time — time to gather evidence, consult experts, conduct legal research, and perhaps negotiate plea deals. Opting for a speedy trial means prioritizing speed over thoroughness. At Brunvand Wise, P.A., we guide our clients through these decisions with a focus on optimizing the outcome of their cases.

What If the State Delays?

If the state fails to bring a defendant to trial within the designated period, the defendant can take specific legal actions. This was illustrated in the landmark case of State v. Williams, where the Florida Supreme Court held that the state does not get a “recapture period” if it misses the deadline before filing charges. The defendant must file a notice of expiration of the speedy trial, prompting a hearing to be scheduled within five days and the trial within ten days thereafter.

Recent Legal Developments

The case of Robinson v. State further explores these issues, where the 5th District Court of Appeals revisited the implications of the speedy trial rule when the state fails to act in time. In this case, despite Mr. Robinson’s subsequent arrest on unrelated charges, the court found that the original speedy trial rights attached at the initial custody related to the first set of charges.

Practical Advice for Defendants

For anyone facing criminal charges in Tampa, understanding these timelines is crucial. If you suspect your right to a speedy trial has been violated, it’s essential to act quickly. The legal team at Brunvand Wise, P.A. can help determine if filing a motion for discharge is appropriate and represent your interests vigorously, ensuring the state adheres to its obligations.


At Brunvand Wise, P.A., we are committed to upholding the rights of our clients and ensuring that justice is administered swiftly and fairly. If you’re concerned about the pace of your criminal proceedings in Tampa, or if you need guidance on how to proceed when the state fails to provide a speedy trial, contact us for a consultation. Remember, in the landscape of criminal defense, informed and timely action can make all the difference.


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