Only a minuscule portion of criminal cases go all the way to trial, but the jury trial is the lynchpin of a Rochester criminal case timeline. Nearly everything revolves around this uniquely American phenomenon. About 90 percent of the world’s jury trials occur in the United States. If you think the American system is flawed, you have not faced criminal charges overseas.
In Monroe County, jury trials are available for both misdemeanors and felonies. As far as we are concerned, there is no such thing as a minor criminal case. We provide the same aggressive representation for all our clients in everything they face.
For many people, jail release is a matter of convenience. But to us, jail release is an important part of criminal defense. The longer the defendant remains behind bars, the greater the pressure becomes to accept an unfavorable plea bargain agreement just to “get things over with.”
Monroe County defendants have several jail release options. These start with OR (own recognizance) release. If the defendant has no criminal record and/or is charged with a nonviolent offense, OR release may be available. This mechanism makes an arrest like a traffic ticket. The defendant promises to appear at trial, and the sheriff releases the defendant.
The cash bond and bail bond systems are still in place in New York. If the defendant posts the entire amount in cash or obtains a surety bond through a bail bondsman, the sheriff releases the defendant. If the defendant remains incarcerated, the judge may reduce the bail amount at a bail reduction hearing.
Announcement: The Longest Part of a Rochester Criminal Case Timeline
In this context, “announcement” is usually Legalese for “deciding what to do next.” Before making any final decisions, an attorney must thoroughly examine all aspects of the case:
Many criminal prosecutions have only police officers as witnesses. Police officer credibility recently hit a 22-year low. Lay witnesses may have credibility issues because they are blatantly biased. Or, they may have competency issues, perhaps because they only saw a glimpse in the dark.
If officers make procedural mistakes, such as failing to obtain a search warrant, any evidence they seize may be inadmissible in court. If officers do not timely Mirandize the defendant, any statements they obtain may also be inadmissible.
Sometimes, there is no evidence on a key component. For example, in a DUI collision case, there may be no evidence that the defendant was driving the vehicle at the time. The same goes for a drug possession case. There may be no evidence that the defendant controlled the drugs.
Defense attorneys must also take this intangible factor into account. Drug possession cases are a good example here as well. Many jurors now see these cases as health and safety issues instead of criminal matters. That outlook affects how they interpret and apply the evidence presented.
After this investigation, a defense attorney begins plea negotiations in earnest.
A plea bargain usually involves reduced charges and/or a reduced sentence. For example, if the defendant is charged with assault but the evidence is weak, prosecutors may reduce the charges to reckless conduct.
If the case goes to trial, prosecutors must establish guilt beyond any reasonable doubt. That’s the highest evidentiary standard in New York.
It’s typically impossible to appeal plea bargains. However, a defendant may appeal and adverse a trial result. This is only if a mistake affected the trial’s outcome. Courts have consistently held that the defendant is entitled to a fair trial, but not a perfect trial.
Some possible grounds for appeal include ineffective assistance of counsel, jury misconduct, and prosecutorial misconduct.
Connect with an Assertive Lawyer
Knowing what to expect in a criminal case helps defendants make better choices. For a free consultation with an experienced Rochester criminal defense attorney, contact the Law Office of Frank Ciardi. Home and jail visits are available.