What Exactly is a ‘Speedy Trial’ and How Can Demanding One Impact Your California Domestic Violence Case?

The law provides criminal defendants with various tools and options for carrying their defenses. Some of these defense techniques may be based upon the specific facts involved in the case, while other tools are based upon case law, statutory law or rules of procedure (and may have nothing to do with your unique facts). Either way, success may rise and fall based upon utilizing these rights and legal tools to the best possible extent. To make sure your defense is as strong as it can be, ensure you have a knowledgeable California criminal defense attorney in your corner.

Back in the spring, The Mercury News reported on one of the more closely followed recent criminal cases involving a sports figure — the domestic violence charges pursued against Reuben Foster, a linebacker for the NFL’s San Francisco 49ers. The player’s girlfriend at the time, with whom he shared a home in Santa Clara County, alleged that Foster beat her.

Based on the woman’s allegations, the state brought charges against the man for felony domestic violence. In California, you can face either misdemeanor or felony charges for an alleged crime of domestic violence. There are several factors that can make an alleged incident of domestic violence a felony instead of a misdemeanor. If the incident caused serious physical injury to the victim, that might make it a felony. Another way that an incident can become felony domestic violence is if you have a previous conviction for a violent crime within the last seven years, including a conviction for domestic battery.

If you are convicted of a felony, you can be ordered to make restitution, including paying the victim’s medical bills. You can also possibly be sentenced to a term in state prison, in addition to several years of probation. These all highlight just how important it is to fight your charges aggressively.

As noted above, there can be many ways to contest a domestic violence criminal charge. In the football player’s case, he secured a dismissal after the alleged victim later recanted all of her allegations and told the judge that the entire set of assertions were all part of a “money-making scheme” that she was trying to carry out. However, before the player obtained that dismissal, his legal team also invoked his right to a speedy trial at a May 8 court hearing where the man entered his plea of not guilty.

What does this “speedy trial” right potentially do for you? The right to a speedy trial is a fundamental right guaranteed by the constitution. The right says that you are entitled to be tried within a certain period of time. In California, the time period for felonies is generally 60 days. So, if you invoke your right to a speedy trial on May 8, and the state does not bring your case to trial within 60 days of May 8, that may entitle you to obtain a court order dismissing your case. If the judge dismisses your case because of a speedy trial violation, then the law says that the state is forever prohibited from re-raising those charges based upon the bar against “double jeopardy.”

What all this means for you is that, if you’ve been charged with a domestic violence crime, especially if it’s a felony charge, it is very serious and you should treat it that way. Don’t just give up, however, because there are many avenues for successfully defending against a domestic violence accusation. Contact the San Francisco criminal defense professionals at Uthman Law Office. Attorney David Uthman has over 20 years of experience as a litigation attorney and almost a decade of experience as a police officer. We are keenly familiar with the law and the system, and know how to use both for your best possible outcome. Put our knowledge to work for you. Call us today at (415) 556-9200 to schedule your FREE initial consultation to get the help you need.

More blog posts:

Negotiating a Plea Agreement to Resolve Your California Domestic Violence Case, San Francisco Criminal Lawyer Blog, June 19, 2018

What You Can (and Cannot) Be Ordered to Pay For as Part of Restitution in a California Domestic Violence Case, San Francisco Criminal Lawyer Blog, April 25, 2018