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How long does a trial take once a date is set?

Croton On Hudson, NY |

When you go to court and get a trial date set does it take that one court date to determine if the defendant is guilty or not guilty or do you get a few court dates to argue both sides? Also once they decide on a verdict and if they decide the defendant is guilty do they give you another court date to be sentenced?

Attorney Answers 2


  1. A New York criminal jury trial generally proceeds in the following order. The jury is selected and sworn. [CPL § 260.10(1)] Preliminary instructions are read to the jury by the judge. [CPL §260.10(2)] The prosecutor presents his opening statement. [CPL §260.10(3)]Defense counsel may then present an opening statement. [CPL 260.10(4)] The prosecutor presents the People’s original case. [CPL §260.10(5)] Defense counsel may then present the defendant’s original case. [CPL §260.10(6)] The prosecutor may then present rebuttal evidence to the defendant’s original case. [CPL§260.10(7)] Defense counsel may then present evidence in rebuttal to the prosecutor’s rebuttal evidence. [CPL §260.10(8)] The court has the authority to permit the parties to continue taking turns presenting rebuttal evidence in this order. [CPL §260.10(7)] The court in the interest of justice may also permit either party to present evidence during rebuttal that should have been presented during their original case. [CPL §260.10(7)] Defense counsel may then present a closing argument. [CPL §260.10(8)] The prosecution then may present a closing argument. [CPL §260.10(9)] The court will then read to the jury instructions on the law. [CPL §260.10(10)] The jury will be excused from the courtroom and return to the jury room to attempt to reach a verdict in the case. [CPL §260.10(11)] If the jury is able to reach a verdict, the jury will return to the court room and announce its verdict. Thereafter, the the jury may be poled to determine that the verdict is sound. A trial can be as short as one day or it can take weeks depending upon the complexity of the case. Sentencing usually occurs several weeks post verdict to allow the probation department an opportunity to prepare a pre-sentence investigation report and to allow the attorney's an opportunity to submit post trial motions and/or a sentencing memorandum.


  2. When you go to court and get a trial date set does it take that one court date to determine if the defendant is guilty or not guilty or do you get a few
    court dates to argue both sides? Also once they decide on a verdict and if they decide the defendant is guilty do they give you another court date to be
    sentenced?

    In a criminal case, the prosecution starts and calls their witnesses and presents their case. The defense can challenge the witnesses and the evidence. When the prosecution has finished, the defense then has the opportunity to call witnesses and present evidence. The prosecution might then want to call more witnesses to rebut defense evidence. Whether it takes a day or more depends on the charge and amount of evidence, and whether it is a jury or non-jury trial. The defense will always have the opportunity to present evidence. In my experience, most trials take more than 1 day. However, I have gone to court on a date for trial and it has been adjourned for several reasons, including my application for more time to present a defense, the prosecution's request for an adjournment or the Court's decision to adjourn. Jury trials take more time because it will usually take 1 day to select the jury. It also depends on when you start selecting the jury.

    If the defendant is found guilty, the matter is adjourned for a probation report and separate sentencing date, if the conviction is for a misdemeanor or felony. If the conviction is for a violation (maximum 15 days in jail), the judge can sentence right away. No probation report is necessary if the sentence is for 6 months or less of jail time.

    Richard F. Sweeney, Esq.
    www.RichSweeneyLaw.com
    info@RichSweeneyLaw.com

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