Interviewer: How long do criminal cases take to resolve?
Misdemeanor Cases Resolve More Quickly than Felony Cases
Eric: In Nassau and Suffolk County, and in the city, an average misdemeanor criminal case can be resolved usually in the six month area, give or take a month or two. A driving while intoxicated case, generally speaking, if it’s handled properly, also take a minimum should be four months and at maximum, could be a year.
Of course, there are the exceptions to those. Felony cases can take a year or more to resolve because they are more serious cases. There’s more investigation that needs to be done and the court system moves at its own pace. We don’t want to rush anybody into a disposition or a trial we’re not ready for because the possible sanctions are much higher. We usually explain to clients there is between 12 and 18 months for resolution on those cases.
What If You Feel Your Situation Is Hopeless While Your Case Is Ongoing?
Interviewer: Do you have clients that, as you’re representing them, say, “I can’t take it anymore. I just want to give up and plea and get it over with.” What do you do if they say that?
Your Attorney Should Fully Explain What Options Are Available to You
Eric: Again, they are the boss but we want to explain to them where the case is headed. I don’t want to talk anybody into doing anything. I just want to educate them, explain to them where the case is, and if they give up now, these are the options. If they give up, this is what the judge can do and what the judge can’t do.
My job is always to make sure I not only represent the client to the best of my ability but at least to make sure that individual has a full understanding of what it means to them. I can’t force anybody to go to trial. I can’t force anybody to not go to trial but I certainly can force myself to make sure that that person fully understands what they’re doing and what they’re up against.
If they want to give up then I have to shift gears and make sure that I obtain as good a deal as I can possibly get between the district attorney and the judge to help resolve this now for them with as little consequence as possible.
By Eric Sachs