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Wisconsin defense attorney, Wisconsin criminal lawyer, criminal justice systemThrough each stage of the criminal justice system you have rights that must be protected. The Fifth and Sixth Amendments to the United States Constitution grant you many rights, including the right to an attorney in most stages of criminal proceedings. These rights ensure that your trial is fair and that you do not unjustly get sent to prison. However, some of your rights, including the right to an attorney, can be waived.

Each year numerous people are arrested in the United States and are charged with drug violations. To be sure, the Bureau of Justice Statistics, in 2007, estimated that 14 million individuals were arrested across the United States, and approximately 1,800,000 of those individuals were arrested for drug violations. In Wisconsin, according to the Wisconsin Department of Justice, approximately 340,000 individuals were arrested in 2012, and an estimated 27,000 of those arrests were related to drugs.

Miranda Rights

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Wisconsin defense attorney, Wisconsin criminal lawyer, criminal justice systemIn all criminal prosecutions, including drug cases, you have a right to a speedy trial. This prevents the state or prosecution from keeping you in jail for an indefinite period of time without trial. However, the right to a speedy trial does not apply to every single stage of a criminal case. It will only arise after you are arrested or otherwise formally accused of a crime by the government.

The right to a speedy trial is derived from the Sixth Amendment of the United States Constitution. The federal government and Wisconsin have passed statutes requiring the government, state or federal prosecutors to prosecute a defendant within a specified period of time. In Wisconsin, misdemeanor cases are required to go to trial within 60 days from the initial court appearance. On the other hand, in felony cases, the defendant or prosecutor has to make a demand for trial after formal charges, and a trial must commence within 90 days from that demand. There are certain exceptions that can extend or delay the specified time periods.

However, depending on the length of delay, reasons for delay, and when you were arrested or charged, you may be able to get the charges against you dismissed if a violation of your speedy trial rights occurred. But remember, prior to formal accusations of a criminal offense, the government is not required to act within a specified period of time to prosecute the case.

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