Monday, June 25, 2012

Ithaca Cortland Lawyer The Little Known Right to an Adjournment

Sometimes we take so many things for granted. I believe as an attorney the right to an adjournment is one of those things. It is often overlooked as a right. Everyone knows the right to free speech, adjournment not so much. It has a great many uses, and it has had it's fair share of abuses.

First, what is an adjournment? It's a fancy way of saying delay.

When you or I request an adjournment we are asking that the court hold off, and suspend, the matter's progression until a later time. The matter is usually a case. It could be a civil or a criminal case. Everything legal works on set timelines.

Moving Forward to a Conclusion

In civil litigation (lawsuits) we are seeking money damages and in criminal proceedings the government is seeking justice (criminal proceedings) to render punishment. Everyone is moving to a conclusion. Either guilty or not guilty of the charges or a dismissal of the charges or an award of money.

Example One: THE ACD

With a Judge's granting of an adjournment in contemplation of dismissal this is a conditional period of a set amount of time (a set delay). Often this is a one year delay of the proceedings to see if someone re-offends or remains on good behavior. If they do not (get re-arrested) the matter (the government's proceeding on the charges) is dismissed.

Example Two: The Request to Gather Information/ Evidence / Witnesses

Sometimes to wage the best defense of a case an attorney will request a delay to find proof, locate and subpoena witnesses, and/or allow their client to be evaluated mentally or for chemical dependency.

Example Three: The Client Request to Find or Speak with an Attorney

I have seen Judges allow requested delays to either find representation, or at least talk with counsel. I have even seen allowances for lengthly delays by town and village justices to allow people to work and save money to pay for Felony cases or to pay fines or DMV fees or to perform community service or to enter drug/alcohol rehabilitation.

Caveats (things to watch out for): always have a reason (s) when and if requesting anything.
Reasonable people have reasons for requesting things. These reasons must be valid, rational, and logical to be believed (have integrity). BS reasons for adjourning legal matters are denied.

Remember that time can have great value if used properly. Allowing people more time to get their "houses in order" helps everyone.

THE BOTTOM LINE: Using time to your advantage, that is what makes the right to adjournment a powerful tool.

The Law Offices of Lawrence (Larry) Newman, D.C., Esq.

Doctor of Chiropractic
Attorney and Counselor at Law

504 North Aurora Street
Ithaca, NY 14850


My legal practice focuses on personal injury and DWI defense defense within the Finger Lakes area, basically anything that involves gas powered vehicles (cars, trucks, boats, snowmobiles) and/or drugs.