When to Make a “Speedy Trial Demand”

Both the Illinois Constitution and the sixth amendment to the United States Constitution guarantee the right to a speedy trial. In Illinois, 725 ILCS 5/103-5 specifies exactly how many days the State has to try the charges against a defendant in different situations.  However, some situations require that you or your attorney make what is known as a “speedy trial demand” before the clock starts ticking off the days.

While no one wants to spend more time in jail than necessary, there are times when it is in your best interests not to ask for a speedy trial.  If you or your attorney demands trial, you need to be ready to actually go to trial. Sometimes your attorney is waiting for something such as police reports, DNA or video evidence that could potentially help your case.

The seasoned Illinois criminal defense attorneys at Wolfe & Stec, Ltd. have extensive experience handling all types of trial situations, and we offer a free consultation that can help determine what defense is best in your individual situation. We know the court system and the judges, and we will work tirelessly to reach an outcome that is favorable to you.

What Does Illinois Law Say?

Illinois law differentiates between speedy trial requirements and whether demand letters are needed for defendants in different situations.

1) If You Are in Custody

According to 725 ILCS 5/103-5, defendants in custody waiting for trial must be brought to trial within 120 days of the date they are taken into custody. If you are in custody, you do not have to demand a speedy trial to start the speedy trial clock, it starts automatically.  However, if you cause a delay for reasons such as asking the court for continuances, or if your attorney needs more time to investigate, or you need an evaluation to determine if you are fit to stand trial, the ticking stops.

If something delays your trial, you are considered to have agreed to the delay if you do not object to that delay by making a written or oral demand for trial.

The 120 days must be one continuous period of incarceration, and separate periods of incarceration cannot be combined. If you are taken into custody again for the same offense, the 120-day term begins again at zero. The 120-day period does not apply to defendants who are in custody for a parole violation or supervised release violation or if on bond or own recognizance for another offense.

If you are released from custody and fail to appear on scheduled court dates, prior demands are eliminated, and the speedy trial clock goes back to zero.

2) If You Are Out on Bond

Unlike a defendant in custody, if you are released on bond, you must formally demand trial in order to start the speedy trial clock. Your trial must begin within 160 days of the date you have sent the demand letter. The demand must be clear and in writing, and must be served on the State.

After the demand is served, the count begins with Day One on the following day. If you started out in custody and were then released on bond, the days in custody may count toward your 160 days, but only if you file a speedy trial demand immediately on your release that states the days in custody.
Again, if you have caused any delays, this is added to the 160 days. Also, the State can request up to 60 more days to obtain important evidence, and 120 more days if that evidence involves DNA.

3) If You Are in Custody of the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC)

There is a separate statute, 730 ILCS 5/3-8-10, that applies if you are incarcerated in county jail. In order to demand a speedy trial from IDOC, the demand must 1) be in writing; 2) cite the Statute on Intrastate Detainers; 3) specify the place where you are incarcerated; 4) state the term of incarceration; 5) state the term remaining to be served; 6) cite all pending charges for which you are demanding a speedy trial; 7) specify the county in which those charges are pending; and 8) be served on that county’s State’s Attorney and Circuit Clerk.

Put Your Trust In Us — Contact Wolfe & Stec, Ltd. for a Free Consultation.

When you are accused of a crime in Illinois, you need to hire the best criminal defense attorney you can find to make sure demand letters are correctly filed.  An experienced criminal law attorney will keep their eye on the speedy trial clock and recognize situations when a delay works to your advantage. Witnesses get tired of coming to court, and testimony starts to change, and it sometimes happens that a case is dismissed because the State took too long to bring the matter to trial.

Skillful representation is always an integral part of your defense strategy. The criminal defense lawyers at Wolfe & Stec, Ltd. are seasoned trial lawyers who believe each case is unique, with its own set of circumstances.  We know the judges and the court system and will aggressively explore every avenue for your defense.  We examine the facts, the individuals involved, and the evidence available, and we work hand in hand with our clients throughout the criminal process. We explain all elements and processes of the case and develop an effective defense strategy. Our goal is always to minimize the negative impact of the situation and to focus on protecting your freedoms, liberties and rights.

Don’t delay — contact us for help today at 630-305-0222 if you have been accused of any criminal charges. Our Illinois criminal defense lawyers represent clients in DuPage County, Naperville, Will County, Aurora, Wheaton, Downers Grove, Bolingbrook, Illinois, and the greater Chicagoland area.  Your free initial consultation can be scheduled at our office.

Attorney Natalie Stec

Natalie M. Stec, born and raised in Illinois, and earned her Bachelor of Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her practice has been concentrated in significant pre and post decree marital and family law cases; including custody, visitation, support, and paternity matters. She has important criminal defense experience in both misdemeanor and felony cases. She is a very dedicated and passionate litigator. [ Attorney Bio ]