Serna Motions

Los Angeles Serna Motion Attorneys

Protecting Your Right to a Speedy Trial

Both the Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution and the California Constitution guarantee your right to a speedy trial after you have been charged with a criminal offense. The right to a speedy trial is a fundamental freedom aimed at avoiding extended and burdensome pretrial detention, reducing the stress and inconvenience linked to facing legal charges, and guaranteeing that delays do not compromise the defendant's chances of a fair trial. However, delays can occur, potentially infringing on this right. A Serna Motion can address such delays, possibly leading to the dismissal of charges.

At Stephen G. Rodriguez & Partners in Los Angeles, our Serna Motion lawyers can help you understand and utilize a pretrial Serna Motion, starting with determining if it applies to your situation. If it has been an unreasonably long time since you were charged and you have not yet gone to trial, contact us at 213-481-6811 to see if we can help you.

For more information about Serna Motions and your right to a speedy trial, send an online contact form to Stephen G. Rodriguez & Partners today.

What is a Serna Motion?

A Serna Motion is a pretrial motion that allows a judge to dismiss criminal charges against you if you were not given a speedy trial due to the prosecution's unreasonable or unnecessary delays. It becomes applicable once you are arrested, arraigned, and charged with a criminal offense, regardless of whether it is a misdemeanor or a felony. To understand whether you can leverage a Serna Motion, consider consulting with our Los Angeles Serna Motion lawyers.

What is a Speedy Trial?

The concept of a speedy trial varies according to the specific details of a criminal case. Generally, the state or federal government is required to make reasonable efforts to initiate the trial promptly, adhering to all legal deadlines. There are three key "speedy trial deadlines" to note:

  • For California misdemeanor offenses: Within 45 days of your arraignment or within 30 days if you are placed into custody.
  • For California felony offenses: Within 60 days of your indictment, arrest, or arraignment.
  • For Federal offenses: Within 70 days of your indictment, arraignment, or first appearance in federal court.

It's important to understand that a trial can be postponed for valid reasons. Whenever such circumstances arise, they typically need the approval of both the defendant and the prosecution.

Filing a Serna Motion

The criminal defense attorneys from Stephen G. Rodriguez & Partners may consider utilizing a Serna Motion if your right to a speedy trial has been compromised or if the standard trial deadline has been exceeded. Upon filing a Serna Motion, a hearing will be scheduled promptly to consider the following aspects:

  1. The Duration of the Delay: The cumulative delay from your arrest, arraignment, and/or indictment plays a crucial role in determining the justification for a Serna Motion. For instance, a brief delay of a few days may not constitute a violation of Constitutional rights.
  2. The Reason for the Prosecution's Delay: The prosecution, representing the State of California or the federal government, must have legitimate reasons for delaying a criminal trial. Acceptable reasons might include significant new evidence emerging shortly before the trial. If the delay is found to be intentional, due to negligence, or could have been avoided, the court may deem the delay unjustified and unconstitutional.
  3. The Impact of the Delay on the Trial: Delays can adversely affect the outcome of a criminal trial, potentially compromising the fairness of the trial. Extended delays may lead to deteriorating memories of the events or the loss or unavailability of crucial evidence. If a delay could potentially prejudice your chance of a fair trial, the court might approve the Serna Motion.
  4. The Defendant's Vigilance: In cases where the prosecution has delayed the trial or is taking an unusually long time to prepare, the court expects the defendant and their counsel to remain vigilant and inquire about the reasons for the trial's delay. However, if the trial lacks promptness due to the defendant's own actions, the court may conclude that their right to a speedy trial has not been infringed.

Serna Motion Outcomes

The typical outcome of a successful pretrial Serna Motion is the dismissal of the charges and the case against the defendant. This reflects the principle that the prosecution has forfeited its right to proceed due to a violation of the defendant's right to a speedy trial. An unsuccessful motion means the case will continue. However, a conviction can still be appealed on the grounds of a denied Serna Motion.

Get More Information About Serna Motions 

At Stephen G. Rodriguez & Partners, we are dedicated to delivering a strong criminal defense for our clients, including skilled representation for Serna Motions. Your right to a speedy trial is crucial and worth fighting for. Call us for an evaluation, even if you are currently represented by a public defender. 

Call 213-481-681 to request an initial consultation about Serna Motions in California.

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