New York’s Speedy Trial Rules

By Michael Joseph on March 24, 2015

One of the most effective means of getting a stale criminal case dismissed is a speedy trial motion, which is also commonly known as a 30.30 motion by Westchester criminal defense lawyers. This remedy often comes into play when the prosecution is routinely not ready to proceed.

The rules under New York Criminal Procedure Law section 30.30 are relatively straight forward, however, the interpretation of the exceptions often allows the exception to swallow the rule. In general the Defendant has a speedy trial right, and under New York Criminal procedure law, the prosecution must be ready for trial within six months of the arraignment, where the case is a felony, or within ninety days when the case is a class A misdemeanor. If the case is a class B misdemeanor, the prosecution must be ready for trial within sixty days.

The definition of ready often is the deciding factor. While prosecutors routinely declare ready, when they are not really ready, there are some clear cases when the People are not ready as a matter of law. However, the defendant must be aware that where the defense counsel consents to an adjournment, the time does not count against the prosecution. Many prosecutors, especially in Queens and Westchester condition plea negotiations upon consent to an adjournment. Where the defendant does not consent, the time is charged to the prosecution when they request the time or declare that they are not ready. On a felony case, where the prosecution has not secured an indictment, all of the time counts towards the speedy trial time, because the prosecution cannot be ready where they have not secured an indictment. Likewise on a misdemeanor case, where the prosecution does not have either a first party complaint or a supporting deposition they are not ready. Likewise, in a misdemeanor drug charge, where the prosecution has not secured a lab report, they are not ready.

Many times, the prosecution declares ready and then they are not ready when the case is called for trial. If the prosecution requests a week and the Court adjourns it for a longer period, the prosecutors often argue that they are only charged for the time they requested and unfortunately many local criminal courts agree, even though there is clear appellate law that the prosecution must either declare that they are ready on the record or file a certificate of readiness to be ready. As such, our Manhattan criminal defense lawyers believe the better rule is that all of the time should run, until the prosecutor declares ready. Of course, this assumes that the defense has not consented to any adjournments.

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