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Defining a speedy trial

The Sixth Amendment gives people in North Carolina and around the country the right to a speedy jury trial. Furthermore, a defendant must be tried in front of an impartial jury who finds that person guilty beyond all reasonable doubt. In most cases, the word speedy means a reasonable amount of time after a person is charged and taken into custody. However, a reasonable amount of time may depend on the facts and other circumstances of a case itself.

If a court does decide that a trial took too long to commence, the case may be thrown out entirely. Typically, a jury is made up of 12 people who represent a broad section of the community in which the trial is taking place. Their job is to weigh the evidence and decide if it is sufficient to prove that a person is guilty of the charges brought against him or her.

To convict a defendant, all members of the jury must agree that a defendant is guilty. All members of a jury must agree to acquit a person as well. If there is no consensus, the jury is considered to be hung or split. This may result in a mistrial being declared. After a mistrial, a case may be tried again or dismissed.

An individual who has been handed criminal charges may face significant penalties if convicted. It may be possible to face jail or prison time in addition to probation or a fine. As a result, those who are in this position might find it advisable to meet with a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible so that a strategy to combat the allegations can be constructed.

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