What is Pennsylvania Criminal Procedure Rule 600?

Pennsylvania Criminal Procedure Rule 600 is PA’s speedy trial statute. The Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution guarantees individuals charged with a crime the right to a speedy and fair trial. Likewise, the Pennsylvania Constitution makes the same guarantee. Speedy trial rights are designed to protect defendants from prolonged pre-trial incarceration prior to receiving a fair trial.

PA.R.Crim.P 600 defines speedy trial rights in Pennsylvania and sets the rules for when a speedy trial violation occurs. In short, Rule 600 and the case law that interprets it state that the Commonwealth must bring a criminal defendant to trial within 365 days. If the Commonwealth does not do so, and fails to exercise “due diligence” the charges against the defendant must be dismissed with prejudice against the Commonwealth.

Further, under Rule 600(E) If a criminal defendant is held in pre-trial incarceration for a period exceeding 180 days they are entitled to immediate release on nominal bail. Case law suggests that the rule guarantees a nominal or low bail; however, that non-monetary conditions, such as home confident or electronic monitoring can be applied.

It is important to understand that Rule 600(C) addresses excludable time for the purposes of Rule 600 calculations. It notes that any delay caused by the defendant in which he/she is unavailable for trial is excluded from PA’s Rule 600 calculation. For example, if the defendant’s lawyer requests a continuance, that time must be excluded from the speedy trial calculation because the delay was not caused by the Commonwealth.

If you have a specific question about PA Rule 600 you should consult with a Pennsylvania criminal defense lawyer because it is a complex issue full of nuances. You can contact me at lampmanlaw.com or call me at 570-371-3737 and I will be happy to discuss the issue with you.

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