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Zoey_ JD
Zoey_ JD, JustAnswer Criminal Law Mentor
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 25533
Experience:  Admitted to NYS Criminal defense bar in 1989. Extensive arraignment, hearing, trial experience.
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I have been having a ongoing charge of owi in the2cnd and a

Customer Question

I have been having a ongoing charge of owi in the2cnd and a possion of meth. the charges are all misdemeanor charges. Back in May I had told the public defender that my mom was possibly sick that I was in the process of trying to get down there she is
my only parent . when I told her that I had said I needed this resolved asap because I did not know what we would hear in regards ***** ***** mom. She had me waive my rights to a speedy trial and I don't feel so sure that she has my best interest at heart. So I
am trying to get a continuance and hopefully a different public defender. I also plan on writing a letter to the judge asking for time and understanding. I had just recently received a phone call from by brother that I need to be in another state because he
cant take care of our mom after her lung operation which should of ben done months ago but paper work and medical doctors then being backed up. I have left the community college for which I had 45 credits and need 64 to graduate but I already cant handle the
guilt of what if. I need to be with my mother at this time so I hope to leave state
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 1 year ago.

Hello,

You don't ask a question with regard to this situation, but I assume you want to know whether a judge will grant you a long continuance so that you can leave the state and help your family tend to your mother.

This is something you should take up with your lawyer so that he can make a request of the court for you. In my experience, that will have a better chance of working than a letter that you write to the judge. If you insist on writing a letter, however, make sure your lawyer sees it before you show it to the judge because if you make any admissions in that letter, they can be used against you and can harm your case.

Make sure that you have medical reports or some kind of hard evidence to show your mother needs critical care, even if it's just making it possible for your lawyer or for the judge to discuss your mother's surgery and prognosis with her doctor. With that kind of evidence, it is sometimes possible for your lawyer to get your appearance in court excused for a date or two in order to let you leave the state and tend to a family emergency. You will not be able to remain in your mother's state over the long haul, however, unless you start appearing on your court dates again. In my experience, judges won't excuse your appearance indefinitely, as you will always remain under court mandate until your case is over.

As for whether the judge will relieve your public defender and appoint a new one for you, usually they will allow for one change of assigned counsel if there isn't a good fit between the attorney and his client. But it depends upon how close to the end of the case it is. If the judge is going to look at this just as a delaying tactic so that you can leave the state, not only won't he change counsel, but he won't excuse your appearance in court either. That's why the best way to proceed with this is to let your lawyer make the argument and to give your lawyer the evidence that he needs to get your request granted.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you very much. I'm not sure how I feel about this answer.
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 1 year ago.

In criminal law, I rarely get to give a great deal of good news. Criminal cases have lifetime negative consequences, by definition. It is not my fault that you are under court mandate and that the judge presently controls your liberty. That's how criminal cases work. I understand you don't like that and that you want to be done with this case. But the criminal justice system grinds very slowly.

The quickest way to get out from under a court case is to take a plea. I am not suggesting that you do that, just stating the obvious. If you want a trial, there are always more cases going to trial than there are judges and court rooms available to hear them. So some cases end up having priority over others. Felony cases get tried before misdemeanors. Old cases get tried before new ones. Cases where the defendant is incarcerated get tried before cases where a defendant is at liberty. So even if your lawyer asserted your speedy trial rights, it is not unusual for a case to take a year or more before it's ripe enough to actually go to trial.

In the meantime, you are expected to comply with the judge and you need his permission for any special favors. I have seen judges excuse a defendant's appearance with an emergency for a date or two. But ultimately the case must go on and you will have to be available.