Americans accused of committing crimes are guaranteed the right to a speedy trial under the United States Constitution. The Sixth Amendment dictates that the government must conduct a trial within a certain time period once charging an individual with a crime. While defendants choose to waive that right to give their Milton attorney more time to prepare a defense strategy, the prosecution typically does not have that same right.
As Milton attorneys will advise their criminal defense clients, Florida law gives them certain rights relating to the speedy trial doctrine. These include:
Prosecuting attorneys will sometimes offer “plea agreements” to defendants charged with crimes, though they are not obligated to do so. Defendants who reach plea agreements, sometimes called “plea bargains”, with the prosecutor typically plead guilty to a lesser charge or the same charge in exchange for a lighter sentence. Whether a prosecutor will be open to negotiating with a defendant’s Milton attorney to reach a plea bargain usually depends upon the facts of the case and how strong the prosecutor believes his or her case against the defendant is.
A Milton attorney may advise a criminal defense client facing a punishment of six or more months of incarceration to waive his or her right to a jury trial in certain situations, either by pleading guilty or choosing a bench trial–one which a judge presides over and decides, in addition to handing down sentence. In a bench trial, the judge performs the same fact-finding function that a jury usually provides.
Criminal defendants are also granted the right to an appeals process. Depending upon the nature of the crime, that process will vary, although time deadlines for filing appeals will always apply. Defendants should educate themselves about any applicable time deadlines and make sure that their Milton attorneys do not miss those deadlines.
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