A defendant must be tried within twelve months after the "return day" (usually the arraignment date) in the court in which the case is awaiting trial. This time limit however, is often extended because the defendant agrees to continuances and for other reasons. See, Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution; Art. 11 of the Massachusetts Declaration of Rights; and Mass. Rules of Criminal Procedure, Rule 36

When a defendant is being held in custody, any continuance may not exceed thirty days. G.L. c. 276, § 35

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