The Sixth Amendment of the US Constitution demands that every individual has the right to a speedy trial. However, a definite length of time is not determined thus, the term speedy merely refers to the timely fashion in which a court of law must try cases.
Courts of law experience a surge of lawsuits everyday, and it is necessary for each suit to be processed in a sensible period of time so as to avoid build up and indefinite waiting periods. An accused is therefore entitled to be tried for the crimes brought against him or her in a reasonable amount of time.
If a trial is not brought before the court in a reasonable amount of time, the case may be dismissed. A reasonable amount of time is dependent on several factors that include the severity of the crime; the amount of evidence that must be processed, the circumstances in which a trial is to be held or the crime was committed in. Some states have instituted statutes that actually define the amount of time that a case must go to trial before it can be dismissed. Generally speaking, a period of 6 months is the maximum amount of time an individual must wait before going to court.
However, there are certain exceptions to a right of the accused to a speedy trial. Such exceptions must be due to a request made by the criminal defense or there must be good cause for a delay. Although these exceptions are honored, they are rarely done.