In New York State when a person is arrested for a felony, the District Attorney's Office of the county in which the crime allegedly occurred has six months from the date of arrest to present evidence to a Grand Jury and obtain an indictment and announce readiness for trial in County Court.
If after arrest the person was taken into custody and brought before a local judge and arraigned on (informed of) the charge, and the judge set bail, a Preliminary Hearing ("PH") must be held within 144 hours. If at any time before the PH the person is released from custody because bail was posted, the PH will not be held. The prosecutor can also choose to not conduct the PH. If the PH is not held, it does not mean that the charge is dismissed.
On agreement of the defense attorney and prosecutor, the case can remain in the local court while they negotiate a misdemeanor plea. On the other hand, the case can be removed from the local court for the purpose of the prosecutor presenting the charge to the Grand Jury. Understand that the "clock" controlling the time for all of this to occur can, at the request of the defense, be stopped if doing so is likely to lead to a more favorable resolution of the case.
From your statement, the case is at a critical stage, so the help of a local, experienced criminal defense attorney is strongly advised. There are many factors which need to be explained in order for the defendant to make a well-informed decision.
They have 183 days absent consent adjournments.
The other days you've heard about only relate to people in jail and involve their possible release, not the end of the case.
Joseph A. Lo Piccolo, Esq.
Immediate Past President, Criminal Courts Bar Association 11'-12'
Hession Bekoff & Lo Piccolo
1103 Stewart Ave, Suite 200
Garden City, NY 11530
516-408-3666 (o) / 516-408-3833 (f)
I am a criminal defense attorney practicing in Nassau, Suffolk and New York City. The above information is not a substitution for a meeting whereas all potential legal issues can be discussed.
The DA has a total of 6 months to be ready for trial and on a felony the first step in getting ready is presenting the case to the grand jury. Not all days count.
I am a former federal and State prosecutor and now handle criminal defense and personal injury/civil rights cases. Feel free to check out my web site and contact me at (212) 577-9797 or via email at Eric@RothsteinLawNY.com. I was named to the Super Lawyers list as one of the top attorneys in New York for 2012. No more than 5 percent of the lawyers in the state are selected by Super Lawyers. The above answer is for informational purposes only and not meant as legal advice.