Q: Is it possible to get a case tossed out on procedural grounds without needing to post bond or show up personally?

Long story short, I recently had my passport revoked while abroad due to a state felony arrest warrant being issued for me about 8 years ago. During my time abroad, I have filled my US taxes every year, voted in every election (same district that has filled the charges), been registered in the Smart Traveler Program with the US Department of State, and even had my social media location set to my actual city. My correct and proper address has been on file in all these locations under my real name this entire time. I have never tried to hide who I was or my location.

I understand that there is a possibility that my right to a speedy trial may have been violated in this instance. Even though I have been abroad this entire time, it is my understanding that my rights to a speedy trial guaranteed under the constitution (not statutory rights) may cause the case to be dismissed.

2 Lawyer Answers
David Luther Woodward
David Luther Woodward
  • International Law Lawyer
  • Pensacola, FL

A: You have a tricky situation:

I would approach it this way. I would contact a very good criminal lawyer in the jurisdiction where the criminal action is lodged and abide his advice. If your theory (or any theory) is correct, then you can attack the passport problem once you have your "ammunition" in hand

Good Lukc


Sean Maye
Sean Maye
  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Denver, CO
  • Licensed in Colorado

A: Generally speaking, speedy trial protections are not triggered until after someone has been arrested. So, in short, it does not likely apply to you.

Now for a more detailed response: If the warrant for your arrest was issued in CO as your post suggests, it depends on whether it is a state or federal criminal case.

If it is a state case, you're likely not able to argue that the case can be dismissed on procedural or other speedy trial grounds. Namely, the clock on one's right to a speedy trial in CO does not begin until after they have formally pled Not Guilty. That clearly hasn't happened to you, as you haven't even been arrested yet, let alone appeared for your initial and 2nd advisements or your preliminary hearing - all of which must occur before Arraignment. Separately, the only other procedural defect that could subject your criminal case to some sort of dismissal other than speedy trial would potentially be the statute of limitations. However, that is satisfied when charges are filed (or under other circumstances). Though there is likely no SOL issue, you would need to consult with a criminal defense attorney like myself or others on here to be certain.

Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.

The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.

Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.