The Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution provides you with various rights when you have a criminal accusation against you in Florida. One of those rights is to a speedy trial, but the meaning of “speedy” does not always mean what you think it means. Obviously, if you are sitting in jail waiting for your chance to go before a judge, speedy to you would mean very fast or immediately. However, that is not exactly what the amendment guarantees.

Cornell Law School explains that the right to a speedy trial means that there is no unnecessary delays. It does not guarantee it will necessarily be very fast. Typically, you will have to wait for pretrial motions and work to be done before you reach your actual trial. Often, there are periods of negotiation and plenty of time to gather information. This can slow things down.

However, the overall intention of this amendment is that you will not languish away locked up before you have a chance to plead your case. It also keeps courts and others involved from dragging things out or stalling the process. This is good for you, obviously, but it is also good for society because it helps avoid needless expenses from piling up and keeps the court system moving.

The Supreme Court has heard several cases concerning this right and made various rulings that are specific to each case. This is not an amendment that has a broad meaning because it could mean something different in each case. This information is for education and is not legal advice.