cedar rapids / iowa city criminal defense

1450 Boyson Road Suite C-2A Hiawatha, Iowa 52233     319-389-1889

A speedy trial can mean different things in an Iowa criminal prosecution. The prosecution and the Court must indict within 45 days of arrest and to trial within 90 days of indictment, unless good cause or waiver is shown, and in no event in more than one year, unless an extension is granted. 

If you or a loved one has been arrested for a criminal offense in Cedar Rapids, Iowa City, Waterloo, Vinton, Anamosa, Linn, Johnson, Black Hawk, Benton, Jones, or other Iowa counties, contact David A. Cmelik Law PLC at 319-389-1889 or https://www.daclawfirm.com today for a free 1/2 initial consultation. 

Speedy Trial in Iowa Criminal Cases

by David Cmelik


A speedy trial is guaranteed by the Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution which states:

“In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense.”

That amendment is chock full of criminal defense rights. But the one we’re concerned about in this article is the “speedy” trial.

Under Iowa law, a speedy trial has been codified at both Iowa Const. Art I § 10 and at Iowa R. Crim. Pro. 2.33, which interprets the right to speedy trial in three ways. First, in an indictable offense the State must file a “Trial Information”—the equivalent of an indictment—within 45 days of the Defendant’s arrest, the remedy is dismissal with prejudice. The Iowa Supreme Court has issued a number of decisions that insist this is an absolute right—however, it notes that a Defendant can contribute to his own delay, which is a factor in the analysis. This right is called the speedy indictment right.

When a Defendant has not waived his or her right to a speedy trial, the State and the Court are responsible for bringing the Defendant to trial within 90 days of the date the Trial Information, or, indictment, is filed, unless so-called “good cause” is shown. When the State or the Court  violates this right, they usually argue at the Iowa Supreme Court that some good cause existed to delay.

Finally, cases must be tried within one year of the date of the filing of the Trial Information. It is this attorney’s position that the one year rule is more stringent than the others; for example, Iowa R. Crim. Pro. 2.33(2)(c) requires that the court grant an extension (beforehand) only upon a showing of good cause.

If you or a loved one has been arrested for a criminal offense in the State of Iowa, please contact David A. Cmelik Law PLC, 1450 Boyson Road Suite C-2A, Hiawatha, Iowa, at https://www.daclawfirm.com or 319-389-1889, today, for a free initial consultation. Remember, however, that a blog is not legal advice and that sending unsolicited information over the Internet to an attorney does not establish an attorney-client relationship.