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DWI Defendandant Stood Up By Legal Counsel in Court


A man was charged with Aggravated DWI, DWI and Driving While Ability Impaired by Alcohol. The criminal complaint alleges that the accused man operated a motor vehicle in an intoxicated condition and in a later blood alcohol test was found to have a level of alcohol in his blood. After arraignment, the case was adjourned for the retention of private counsel and a counsel appeared as the accused man’s attorney for the first time. A New York DWI Lawyer said the accused man has apparently been at liberty after posting bail throughout the proceedings. The Jury and the man’s counsel both estimates that the trial of the matter, when it eventually occurs, should take no more than two days.

The case was adjourned for hearing and trial. The Record of Court Action notes that the complainant was ready on that date but that the accused was not and needed a copy of the police videotape which the complainant were directed to provide. The case was adjourned for hearing and trial to another date. A New York DWI Lawyer said on the rescheduled date, the Record of Court Action indicates that the complainant were ready. The accused man’s counsel submitted an affirmation asking for an adjournment for medical reasons. According to the complainant, however, the Assistant District Attorney informed the Court on that date that she had spoken to the accused man’s counsel and he had informed her that he would not be available for eight weeks due to his congested trial schedule.

According to the complainant, the counsel indicated that he was still not ready to proceed for medical reasons and asked that the case be adjourned for the second time to another date. The Record of Court Action notes that the complainants were also not ready on that date and contains a question by the Court as to whether the man’s counsel had a medical issue. The complainant submitted a Certificate of Readiness. A Nassau County Criminal Lawyer said the case was adjourned for the third time to another date and the Record of Court Action does not indicate why a hearing and trial did not occur on that date. The defense counsel asserts that the complainants were not ready on that date. The defense counsel submitted an affirmation saying that he was engaged in trial on another matter and requesting an adjournment for the fourth time to another date. The case was adjourned to and the complainants indicated that they were not ready on that date.

On July 9, according to the Record of Court Action and the complainant’s affirmation, both parties announced their readiness for hearing and trial but a part was not available. The case was adjourned for the fifth time and on that date the Record of Court Action indicates that the complainants were ready but that the defense counsel was engaged in trial on another matter. The case was adjourned a lot more times until a presiding judge over the case ordered the complainant to speak with the defense counsel and said he was to be in court and ready or he will be relieved.

On July 7 the case was heard in Jury Part 1 where a judge was presiding. According to the transcript of the proceedings on that date, when the case was called, the defense counsel was not present and had not submitted an affirmation of engagement. The complainant recounted the history of delays in the case and asked the Court to relieve the defense counsel as the accused man’s counsel. The Court asked that the accused inform his defense counsel that he was required to be present and ready for trial on the following Monday and said that the Court would call the defense counsel and provide him with the same direction. The Court said that it was possible that the defense counsel might be held in contempt if he did not appear on that date. The judge noted that the defense counsel had been required to appear at 9:30 A.M. and that it was ten minutes before 11:00 A.M. The judge penned that the defense has no defense attorney, no affidavit of engagement. The defense attorney’s firm called to say that the defense attorney was engaged in Queens. The court informed the accused that he should let his attorney know the court is ordering him to be present and ready for trial.

The complainant asserts that the defense counsel appears late in the afternoon and the defense counsel is not on trial or engaged for the remainder of the week. The court directs the defense counsel to proceed to trial the following day and the defense counsel is directed to proceed to hearing.

The transcript on that date reflects the delays and contains an extensive colloquy between the Court, the defense counsel and the Assistant District Attorney. The transcript indicates that the Court was about to adjourn at the end of the day but waited for the defense counsel to arrive.

Among all of the interests which have been negatively impacted by the delays of the case, however, the interest of the people of the city is one interest, in the Court’s view, that is most significant. The father, of course, is presumed innocent. It is worth noting, in fact, that according to his criminal history record he has never been convicted of a crime. He has also faithfully attended the proceedings, even on numerous dates when her nanny has been absent. The accusation in the case, however, is that he registered blood alcohol after being apprehended operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated. The accused man stands accused of operating a motor vehicle in a condition where, if the charges against him are true, he placed the safety of anyone who might have randomly happened onto his path on that day in jeopardy.

The Court fully acknowledges that the defense counsel has other pending felony cases that are more serious than the accused man’s case. But the case of the accused is also important. If the accused man is not guilty of the DWI charges, then he has unfortunately stood accused of a crime he did not commit for what is now years longer than he should have. But if he is guilty, the criminal justice system has been prevented from imposing an appropriate sanction for what is now approaching 3 years. Both of these possible results are unacceptable.

To the extent the justice system seeks to prevent serious crimes from recurring (and in the Court’s view, operating a motor vehicle at three times the legal blood alcohol limit for intoxication on the streets is a serious matter) it has been prevented thus far from having its most important effects in the case. The justice system has been unable to punish, deter, rehabilitate or capacitate the accused man. If he is indeed guilty of the crime it is not primarily the court system, the prosecution or the accused man whose interests have been compromised. It is the people of the city.

The defense counsel has every right to build a busy law practice. His clients have every right to retain him. But those interests are not limitless. They do not trump the combined interests of the court system in operating with some modicum of efficiency; the interests of the district attorney’s office in having the opportunity to fairly present their cases and the interests of the residents of people in having a justice system which protects them. As the Court of Appeals explained, the efficient administration of the criminal justice system is a critical concern to society as a whole.

For all of the above reasons, the complainant’s motion is granted and the defense counsel is relieved as the accused man’s counsel. The Court talked to the accused on the record about the next steps regarding his representation and anticipates that a determination about who will represent him can be finalized on the next adjourned date.

Legal action takes so much of one’s time, energy and resources. Several factors contribute to the delay of lawsuits and these could cause inconvenience to both parties. A NY Criminal Attorney can help you solve your crime related cases in court. In addition, a NY DWI Lawyer from Stephen Bilkis and Associates can help faster in making your life worry free from legal actions.

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