Criminal defendants, including people charged with DUI offenses, are afforded the right to a speedy trial by both Florida law and the United States Constitution. If a court violates this right by failing to try a person for a DUI offense in a timely manner, it may constitute grounds for a dismissal, but not all delays will be considered a violation of a person’s rights. What delays are permissible was the topic of a recent Florida opinion, in which the court denied a defendant’s appeal based on an alleged violation of his right to a speedy trial. If you are charged with a DUI crime, it is in your best interest to speak to a knowledgeable Florida DUI defense attorney about your rights.
The Defendant’s Charges
It is reported that an officer arrested the defendant in November 2019 for an accident that occurred in June 2019. He was charged with two DUI charges in December 2019. Then, in June 2020, one of the victims of the crash died. As such, a week later, the State amended the information to change one of the DUI charges to DUI manslaughter.
Allegedly, the defendant then moved to have DUI manslaughter charges against him discharged, arguing that the State violated his right to a speedy trial pursuant to the Florida Rules of Criminal Procedure and that the new charges should be dismissed because they were filed after the applicable time period expired. He further stated that had the COVID-19 pandemic not occurred, he would have been tried prior to the victim’s death. The court denied his motion, ruling that the speedy trial rule was suspended during the pandemic. The defendant then appealed. Continue reading ›