New York Speedy Trial Time for Violations, Misdemeanors & Felonies
A defendant charged in a criminal case is entitled to what is called a “speedy trial” under the NY criminal procedure law. The underlying reasoning is that it is unfair to have the burden of criminal charges pending against you indefinitely and criminal defendants have the right to a trial to resolve the issues. The statute is designed to prevent unreasonable and excessive prosecution delay. The general speedy trial provision can be found in CPL 30.20, whereas the actually speedy trial limitations can be found in CPL 30.30.
Speedy Trial Time for Violations, Misdemeanors and Felonies
Highest Offense Charged: Speedy Trial Time:
Felony 6 Months
A Misdemeanor 90 Days
B Misdemeanor 60 Days
Violation 30 Days
*No speedy trial requirement for Class A felonies in NY. Traffic infractions have also been held to be exempt.
The speedy trial time periods run from the start of the criminal action. A criminal action is started by the filing of an accusatory instrument with the criminal court. A criminal action can also be commenced in supreme court is by the grand jury filing an indictment against a defendant who has never been held by a local criminal court for the action of the grand jury (this is referred to as a sealed indictment or NA indictment.) The speedy trial time starts the day after the filing of the accusatory instrument. If a defendant receives a desk appearance ticket then the speedy trial time will start once he or she appears for their arraignment. If there are successive criminal actions against the defendant, the speedy trial time relates back to the first incident. If the criminal charges are elevated from a misdemeanor to a felony, the ADA has a new 6 months window to be ready for trial. If an action begins as a felony, and is reduced to a misdemeanor then a new misdemeanor speedy trial period beings. It can shorten the initial 6 month felony speedy trial period but not exceed it. If a case starts as an A misdemeanor and is reduced to a B misdemeanor, the initial 90 day speedy trial period stays in place.
The Assistant District Attorney (“ADA”) can avoid the consequences of a speedy trial violation by filing a certificate of readiness (“COR”) or announcing readiness for trial within the required time periods. Once this occurs, the ADA has discharged the initial obligation. The ADA is required to maintain readiness to avoid the speedy trial clock counting against them.
The NY speedy trial rule is unfortunately not as easy a straight counting of the days. Although all criminal cases are on the path to a criminal trial, there are a myriad of reasons why there are delays and various pretrial issues to deal with. Depending on the delay, and the particular issue the speedy trial time can be counted against the ADA or not.
Exclusions from NY Speedy Trial Rule:
- Delays resulting from other court proceedings involving the defendant in the current action. This could be competency hearings, pre-trial motions, and other criminal trials. CPL 30.30(4)(a)
- Delays resulting from an adjournment that was requested at the defenses request or with defense’s consent CPL 30.30(4)(b)
- Delays resulting from the defendant being absence or unavailable or from a bench warrant being issued CPL 30.30(4)(e)
- Delays resulting from the defendant being incarcerated in another jurisdiction. CPL 30.30(4)(e)
- Delays occasioned by exceptional circumstances CPL 30.30(4)(g)
- Any time in which the defendant is without counsel through no fault of the court CPL 30.30(4)(f)
- A period in an Adjournment in Contemplation of Dismissal is pending CPL 30.30(4)(d)
- A delay resulting from a defendants joinder for trial with a co-defendant if a party has not shown good cause for severance. CPL 30.30(4)(d)
- A time period in which a defendant has been directed to appear for an arraignment pursuant to CPL 120.20(3) or CPL 210.10.
- A period in which a family offense petition is before family court until an accusatory instrument or indictment is filed. CPL 30.30(4)(i)
Motion to Dismiss for Violation of NY Speedy Trial:
In any motion to dismiss the criminal complaint, information or indictment for a violation of the speedy trial rules the initial burden is on the defendant to make the case that his or her constitutional and/or statutory speedy trial rules have been violated. Once the initial showing has been made by the defendant, then the burden shifts to the ADA to respond to the motion and to identify any periods of time that may be excluded or tolled from the statutory speedy trial framework.
NY Speedy Trial Limitations on Incarcerated Defendants:
The NY speedy trial law also affects the amount of time an individual can be detained pending the prosecution preparing for trial. Under CPL 30.30(2) there is a maximum period of time in which the defendant after the expiration the defendant must be released on bail or his or her own recognizance, upon such conditions as may be just and reasonable
Highest Offense Charged: Speedy Trial Time:
Felony 90 Days
A Misdemeanor 30 Days
B Misdemeanor 15 Days
Violation 5 Days
The NY speedy trial release provisions do not apply when:
- The defendant is being held on any other charge in which the speedy trial time has not elapsed
- The defendant is serving a term of imprisonment on another criminal case
- The defendant was released, but then re-apprehended for failing to appear, violating the conditions of release
- The defendant was charged with committing another crime
Todd A. Spodek is a NY Criminal Lawyer with Spodek Law Group P.C.