Speedy Trial, Excludible Time, and New Jersey Criminal Justice Reform

speedy trial, excludible time, new jersey bail reform act, criminal justice reform, N.J.S.A. 2A:162-22Previously I blogged about the Pretrial Detention Hearing Factors under the New Jersey Bail Reform Act. Although the policy of New Jersey’s criminal justice reform favors pretrial release, a prosecutor may move before the court for pretrial detention. In practical terms, a defendant ought not get his hopes up until the court orders the defendant released from custody. Indeed, the court could grant the State’s motion. Consequently, the State would lock up the defendant. If so, in addition to other obligations the court must also calculate speedy trial deadlines.1, 2

But the court may also exclude thirteen thirteen periods in calculating the time for a case to be indicted and tried.3

Excludible Times

The excludible periods are:

  1. Any time resulting from a competency examination and hearing, and the period the eligible defendant is incompetent to stand trial or incapacitated;
  2. The time from filing to disposition of an application for supervisory treatment pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2c:36A-1 or N.J.S.A. 2c:43-12 et seq., special probation under N.J.S.A. 2c:35-14, drug or alcohol treatment as a condition of probation under N.J.S.A. 2c:45-1, or other pretrial treatment or supervisory program;
  3. From filing to final disposition of a pretrial motion by the prosecutor or the eligible defendant;
  4. Time resulting from a continuance granted, in the court’s discretion, requested by the eligible defendant, or requested by the eligible defendant and the prosecutor;
  5. Time resulting from an eligible defendant’s detention in another jurisdiction provided the prosecutor was diligent and made reasonable efforts to obtain the eligible defendant’s presence;
  6. The time resulting from exceptional circumstances, like a natural disaster, unavoidable unavailability of an eligible defendant, material witness or other evidence, when there is a reasonable expectation that the eligible defendant, witness or evidence will become available in the near future;
  7. On the prosecutor’s motion, the delay resulting when the court finds the case is complex due to the number of defendants or the nature of the prosecution;
  8. Time resulting from severance of codefendants when severance permits only one trial to commence within the time period for trial;
  9. Time resulting from an eligible defendant’s failure to appear for a court proceeding;
  10. The time resulting from a judge’s disqualification or recusal;
  11. Time resulting from an eligible defendant’s failure to provide timely and complete discovery;
  12. The time for other periods of delay not specifically enumerated if the court finds good cause for the delay; and
  13. Any other time otherwise required by statute.

Speedy Trial

Not counting the foregoing excludible time periods, the Bail Reform Act limits the time the State may detain an elgibile defendant. In particular, an eligible defendant must not remain in jail for more than 90 days before the return of an indictment. Additionally, the eligible defendant must not remain in jail for more than 180 days following the return or unsealing of the indictment and before the commencement of trial. A trial has commenced when the court determines the parties are present and directs them to proceed to voir dire or to opening argument, or to the hearing of any motions that had been reserved for the time of trial.4

NJ Criminal Attorney Michael Smolensky, Esquire, knows how to protect his clients. Mr. Smolensky can provide consultations for all cases involving the right to speedy trial in New Jersey. Call Now—(856) 812-0321.


1 “In all criminal prosecutions the accused shall have the right to a speedy and public trial by an impartial jury…” N.J. Const. art 1, ¶ 10. See also U.S. Const. amend. VI.
2 N.J.S.A. 2A:162-22
3 N.J.S.A. 2A:162-22(b)
4 N.J.S.A. 2A:162-22(a)(1), (a)(2), (b)(1)