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Gainesville, Hall County Georgia: Understanding Your Right to a Speedy Trial

Understanding Your Right to a Speedy Trial in Hall County, Georgia

In Georgia, it is critical to understand that there are actually two sources of your right to a speedy trial: (1) Constitutional Speedy trial right; and (2) Georgia statutory speedy trial right.

The Constitutional Speedy Trial Right

The 6th Amendment to the United States Constitution holds that, “(i)n all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial.” 

The right to a speedy trial is considered to be fundamental to anyone accused of a crime, and it exists to prevent accused persons from being incarcerated for a crime they may not even be guilty of.

At Brett Willis Law, we have defended thousands of citizens who were accused of committing a crime (see our Client Stories page to see check out our past results). If you are facing criminal charges, having competent legal representation on your side is essential. Call (770) 249-4405 to schedule a free consultation.

What Factors Do Hall County Courts Consider a Motion to Dismiss based on a Constitutional Speedy Trial Violation?

While the Constitution is clear that the accused has a right to a “speedy” trial, it does not clarify what speedy means. There are some criteria most courts will consider when deciding whether or not the accused's right to a speedy trial has been violated. These include:

  • How long the trial was delayed
  • The reason the trial was delayed
  • Whether or not the delay compromised the accused's defense
  • Whether or not the accused has asserted their right to a speedy trial

The Georgia Statutory Right to a Speedy Trial

OCGA § 17–7–170 states:
(a) Any defendant against whom a true bill of indictment or an accusation is filed with the clerk for an offense not affecting the defendant's life may enter a demand for speedy trial at the court term at which the indictment or accusation is filed or at the next succeeding regular court term thereafter; or, by special permission of the court, the defendant may at any subsequent court term thereafter demand a speedy trial. In either case, the demand for speedy trial shall be filed with the clerk of court and served upon the prosecutor and upon the judge to whom the case is assigned or, if the case is not assigned, upon the chief judge of the court in which the case is pending. A demand for speedy trial filed pursuant to this Code section shall be filed as a separate, distinct, and individual document and shall not be a part of any other pleading or document. Such demand shall clearly be titled “Demand for Speedy Trial”; reference this Code section within the pleading; and identify the indictment number or accusation number for which such demand is being made. The demand for speedy trial shall be binding only in the court in which the demand for speedy trial is filed, except where the case is transferred from one court to another without a request from the defendant.
(b) If the defendant is not tried when the demand for speedy trial is made or at the next succeeding regular court term thereafter, provided that at both court terms there were juries impaneled and qualified to try the defendant, the defendant shall be absolutely discharged and acquitted of the offense charged in the indictment or accusation. For purposes of computing the term at which a misdemeanor must be tried under this Code section, there shall be excluded any civil term of court in a county in which civil and criminal terms of court are designated; and for purposes of this Code section it shall be as if such civil term was not held.

In other words, if your lawyer files a statutory demand for speedy trial, the government has to hold a trial on your case before the next term of court ends. If the government does not take your case to trial before the end of the next term of court -- your case is dismissed. You win!

What is a "term of court" in Gainesville, Hall County Georgia?

The terms of court are codified in OCGA § 15-6-3. Each judicial circuit has different terms of court. Gainesville, Hall County is in the Northeastern Judicial Circuit. Under OCGA § 15-6-3, 

"The terms of court for the superior courts for each of the judicial circuits shall commence as follows:

(26) Northeastern Circuit:

(A) Dawson County — First Monday in March and second Monday in September.
(B) Hall County — Second Monday in January, April, and July, and first Monday in October."


How We Use Speedy Trial to Your Advantage

A lawyer seeking to use their client's speedy trial rights to their advantage can file both: (1) a Constitutional Speedy Trial Demand; and (2) a Statutory Demand for a Speedy Trial. If the lawyer does not know that there are two speedy trial rights to file, they are missing out on a major issue that could be exploited to their client's benefit.

Consequences of Speedy Trial Violations in Hall County

When a defendant can prove that their right to a speedy trial has been violated, it may cause their indictment dismissed.

To ensure you move through the criminal justice system fairly, you should retain counsel as soon as possible. Call Brett Willis Law today at (770) 249-4405 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.

This is your life. Let us fight for it.

If you are facing criminal charges, you are in the right place. Give us a call at 770.249.4405, or send us a message.