If you are ever charged with a crime, it is quite likely that one of the hardest things with which you will have to contend is the agony of not knowing what your future holds. This is especially true if the crime you are charged with is such that you will have to go on trial to defend yourself. In such a case, your entire life hangs in the balance.

But fortunately, the U.S. Constitution affords every criminal defendant the right to a speedy trial. Simply put, after a suspect is arrested, he or she is entitled to have a trial within what is deemed a reasonably short time frame. The caveat to this is that what constitutes “speedy” is typically contingent upon the circumstances of the case.

There can be a variety of reasons that a trial could be delayed. Generally, such delays are due to the circumstances surrounding the charges and the overall complexity of the case. For instance, a driving while intoxicated case in which no one was harmed can be handled much more quickly than a similar case in which there were serious injuries or fatalities.

But regardless of the severity of the charges, it is incumbent upon the prosecution to bring the case to trial within a reasonable time frame. To do otherwise could result in the charges being dismissed.

Often the delays can be to the benefit of the defendant as the added time allows his or her attorney to build a stronger case. This is why if you are charged with a crime, having an experienced criminal defense attorney can be so important. An attorney can assess your charges, look at the evidence and advise you on what may be the most effective way to present the case in court.