Why would a defense attorney agree to waive their client’s “speedy trial rights?” (30.30)

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Criminal Procedure Law § 30.30 says that the prosecution must announce readiness for trial within certain time periods. Generally speaking, they have six months for a felony, 90 days for a misdemeanor, and 30 days for a violation. This doesn't mean you actually get a trial within those time periods, it just means that the prosecution needs to announce their readiness for trial within those time periods.

There are other time periods that relate to having a speedy trial. For example, under CPL § 190.80, a person charged with a felony and incarcerated upon that charge is entitled to have his or her case heard by a Grand Jury within 45 days, or the person is entitled to release. These laws make sure that criminal cases don't get dragged out for years... they help to push things along.

Question: Why would a defense attorney agree to waive their client's "speedy trial rights?"

Answer: Because sometimes the system moves a little too fast.

The most common reason a defense attorney waives speedy trial rights is so that they can have some breathing room to negotiate a plea deal. We might not want a case going into the Grand Jury, because once a case is indicted, there are limitations on the plea bargaining process set by the law, and also by many District Attorneys. When we take pressure off the prosecution to move a case along, they don't have to line up witnesses and prepare to indict a case; in turn, the defendant gets the benefit of more time to negotiate a resolution. It's something that often works for both sides.

If you have been charged with a crime, and if you aren't sure about the Grand Jury process, or if you have any other questions, call The Militello Law Firm at (585) 485-0025.

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The Militello Law firm
2480 Browncroft Boulevard
Rochester, New York 14625
Phone: (585) 485-0025 Fax: (585) 286-3128