Every defendant has a federal right to speedy trial under the 6th Amendment to the United States Constitution. In addition, each state has their own rules that protect the speedy trial rights of people accused of crimes. Maryland law provides that, under most circumstances, a defendant has a right to be tried within 180 days of his attorney entering their appearance or the first appearance of the defendant in Circuit Court. Md. CRIMINAL PROCEDURE Code Ann. § 6-103. As with most rules, there are exceptions, including continuances based upon good cause. The reason the 180 days is called the “Hicks date”, is because of an important case that examined 6-103. The Court in Hicks talked about the importance of the rule:
“This section is plainly a declaration of legislative policy designed to obtain prompt disposition of criminal charges; its enactment manifested the General Assembly’s recognition of the detrimental effects to the criminal justice system which result from excessive delay in scheduling criminal cases for trial and in postponing scheduled trials for inadequate reasons. “State v. Hicks, 285 Md. 310, 403 A.2d 356 (1979)
It is important to talk to your attorney about your Hicks date. We are always mindful that our clients want to have their cases resolved quickly and efficiently. However, there are some circumstances in which we advise our clients to continue their trial past Hicks. (such as getting time to retain experts, review discovery, etc) Each case is different.