Rule 600: What does it mean

On Behalf of | Mar 13, 2016 | Rule 600

In Pennsylvania, an individual that is accused with a crime has a speedy trial right which is codified under Rule 600 of the Pennsylvania Rules of Criminal Procedure. Rule 600 essentially states than an accused can move to his criminal charges dismissed if he isn’t brought to trial within a year for no fault of his own. Learn about Violent Crimes here Additionally, under Rule 600, an accused is eligible for one dollar nominal bail if he has not been brought to trial within six months of being charged. The caveat to this rule is that the time it has taken the defendant to get to trial, whether it be six months or one year, is all attributable to the Commonwealth.

Rule 600 has been construed by the courts of Pennsylvania as preventing the Commonwealth from filing and withdrawing a set of charges and re-filing them later in order to circumvent the 365-day limitation period of the rule and, thereby, extend the time that a defendant could be brought to trial.  Should I plead guilty? Therefore, prior to Meadius, appellate courts employed a two-pronged analysis to determine the proper date to calculate the 365-day period, whereby the appellate court would calculate the 365-day period from the second filing of charges if the following facts were present: (1) the first complaint was properly dismissed by a competent judicial or magisterial authority; and (2) the Commonwealth’s actions precipitating dismissal were undertaken without any intent to evade the rule’s mandate. If these facts were not present, the 365-day period was to be calculated using the date of the first filing of charges as the start date.

In addition to the “evasion” prohibition of Rule 600 found and explained by the Sires line of cases, the Meadius court also recognized that Rule 600g precludes the withdrawal and re-filing of charges where the Commonwealth failed to exercise “due diligence” in bringing charges against the defendant at the earliest possible time. Further, the lack of “due diligence” provides an independent basis for dismissal under Rule 600, regardless of the lack of evasive intent on the part of the Commonwealth.

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