Columbia County Criminal Court

Columbia County Criminal Court hears all criminal cases in Columbia County. Below you will find specific information about criminal cases and how they are handled in Columbia County.

Where will Columbia County criminal case hearings take place?

Criminal cases will take place at the criminal courts of Columbia County. See here for the location of the criminal courts in Columbia County.

Columbia County Arraignments

An arraignment is a court hearing. In Columbia County this is the first thing that will happen in a criminal case. The defendant will be brought before a judge in Columbia County Criminal Court and the judge will read the charges that were filed against the defendant. The judge will also read the rights the defendant has and ask the defendant if they understand both the charges filed against them and their rights as a defendant in the case. In Columbia County a plea of Guilty, Not Guilty or No Contest may be entered. In a guilty or no contest plea the sentencing of the defendant may take place at the same arraignment hearing or a later date may be scheduled for sentencing. For a not guilty plea, a date will be set for a trial.

Columbia County Criminal Court

Columbia County Criminal Court

Right to an attorney

The US Constitution’s Sixth Amendment ensures the right to an attorney regardless of whether or not you can afford one. In Columbia County a public defender will be appointed by the judge if you cannot afford private representation.

Can I appeal a guilty verdict?

If found guilty, a defendant may decide to appeal his case to an appelate court. The appellate court will not retry the case, they will examine the proceedings in the lower court to make sure they were done in a legal manner. The appellate court can either uphold the original conviction, or determine that due to errors made in the original trial, that there must be a retrial, resentencing or a complete dismissal of the charges.

I need help for my Columbia County criminal case

The best place to get information about your criminal case is from an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, the court will appoint one to represent you which will assist in your case. For general information about your case the Columbia County court clerk is able to provide general information about your specific case (e.g. date/time hearings, mandatory appearance, what will take place and what you will be required to do). The court clerk for Columbia County will NOT be able to provide legal advice for your case, only an attorney can provide legal advice. The court clerk can provide legal information (like the information found on this website) about your case but cannot provide advice about what you should do in your legal manner.

Columbia County Required Court Appearances

In Columbia County, there are both required and non-required court appearances for the defendant. At a required or mandatory appearance hearing, the defendant is required to appear in person before the court. Failing to appear at your required hearing may result in a bench warrant being issued for your arrest by the judge.

Defendant Sentencing

At a sentence hearing the judge will inform the defendant of the sentence that will be imposed. This sometimes occurs at the same hearing in which the defendant is found guilty (either by trial or plea agreement). In can also occur at a later date, most often this is due to the complexity of the case where more time is needed to determine the appropriate sentence.

Jury Deliberation

In a jury trial in Columbia County, after both the prosecution and defense have rested, the judge will give instructions to the jury and jury deliberations will begin. The jury will convence in a private room to discuss and deliberate the innocence or guilt of the defendant. Once the jury arrives at a unimanous decision, they will inform the judge that they have reached a decision. They will return to the court and the verdict will be read aloud. If the jury cannot reach a unaminous decision, the jury is said to be deadlocked and a mistrial will be declared in the case.

Columbia County Prosecutor

For criminal cases in Columbia County, the prosecutor will be a representative of Columbia County. The Columbia County prosecutor reviews all evidence and ultimately decides whether to file or dismiss charges in the case. Most of the time, the prosecutor has leeway in plea negotiations and determines how the case will be prosecuted.

Can I request a Plea Agreement?

In Columbia County you may be able to enter into a plea agreement depending upon the severity of the charges. It is also dependant upon the prosecution willing to accept a plea agreement. You can ask your attorney to attempt to negotiate a plea agreement with the prosecution to avoid having a jury trial along with the potential for a more serious sentence. Approximately 9 out of 10 criminal cases usually end in a plea agreement.

Burden of Proof Requirement

In a criminal case in the United States, the burden of proof always requires the prosecutor to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty. This is a high threshold that must be met by the prosecution when presenting evidence in a case. If the prosecution fails in it’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt the judge must find the defendant not guilty. In a jury trial, the judge will inform the jury what this burden is and their obligation to find the defendant not guilty if they feel the prosecution did prove the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

The Right to Trial by Jury

The Sixth Amendment of the United States Constitution guarantees the right to a trial by a jury. This is applicable for when the crime can carry a sentence of 6 months in jail OR a $500 fine, these are known as “Serious Crimes”. The defendant can also waive their right to a speedy and public trial.

Columbia County Criminal Court Locations

  • Columbia Surrogate’s Court

    Address: 401 Union Street, Hudson NY 12534
    Phone: 518-851-2874 Fax: 518-851-7615

  • Columbia County Court

    Address: 401 Union Street, Hudson NY 12534
    Phone: 518-851-2874 Fax: 518-851-7615

  • Hudson City Court

    Address: 429 Warren Street, Hudson NY 12534
    Phone: 518-828-3100 Fax: 518-828-3628

  • Ancram Town Court

    Address: 1416 County Route 7, Ancram NY 12502
    Phone: 528-329-6512 Ext. 2

  • Austerlitz Town Court

    Address: 812 Route 203, PO Box 119, Spencertown NY 12165
    Phone: 518-392-3260 Ext. 302 Fax: 518-392-9350

  • Canaan Town Court

    Address: PO Box 59, Canaan NY 12029
    Phone: 518-781-3749 Fax: 518-781-3749

  • Chatham Town Court

    Address: 77 Main Street, PO Box 326, Chatham NY 12037
    Phone: 518-392-5440 Fax: 518-392-0043

  • Chatham Village Court

    Address: 77 Main Street, PO Box 326, Chatham NY 12037
    Phone: 518-392-1825

  • Claverack Town Court

    Address: 836 Highway 217, PO Box 823, Philmont, NY 12565
    Phone: 518-672-4468 Fax: 518-672-4098

  • Clermont Town Court

    Address: 1795 Route 9, Germantown NY 12526
    Phone: 518-537-6868

  • Copake Town Court

    Address: 230 Mountain View Road, Copake NY 12516
    Phone: 518-329-1234 Ext. 3 Fax: 518-329-3368

  • Gallatin Town Justice Court

    Address: 1643 Jackson Corners Road, PO Box 240, Ancram NY 12502
    Phone: 518-398-7690 Fax: 518-398-6161

  • Germantown Town Court

    Address: 50 Palatine Park Road, Germantown NY 12526
    Phone: 518-537-6687

  • Ghent Town Court

    Address: 2306 State Route 66, PO Box 98, Ghent NY 12075
    Phone: 518-392-2706 Fax: 518-392-7259

  • Greenport Town Court

    Address: 600 Town Hall Drive, Hudson NY 12534
    Phone: 518-828-0138 Fax: 518-828-2575

  • Hillsdale Town Court

    Address: PO Box 305, Hillsdale NY 12529
    Phone: 518-325-5073 Fax: 518-325-6917

  • Kinderhook Town Court

    Address: 4 Church Street, PO Box P, Niverville NY 12130
    Phone: 518-784-2233 Fax: 518-784-2203

  • Kinderhook Village Justice Court

    Address: 6 Chatham Street, Box 325, Kinderhook NY 12106
    Phone: 518-758-8778 Ext. 303 Fax: 518-758-9869

  • Livingston Town Court

    Address: 119 County Route 19, Livingston NY 12541
    Phone: 518-851-9441 Ext. 312

  • New Lebanon Town Court

    Address: 14755 State Route 22, PO Box 247, New Lebanon NY 12125
    Phone: 518-794-9456 Fax: 518-794-9693

  • Philmont Village Court

    Address: 122 Main Street, Philmont NY 12565
    Phone: 518-672-4886 Fax: 518-672-4980

  • Stockport Town Court

    Address: 2787 Atlantic Avenue, Hudson NY 12534
    Phone: 518-828-9389 Ext. 6 Fax: 518-822-0889

  • Stuyvesant Town Court

    Address: 5 Sunset Drive, PO Box 33, Stuyvesant NY 12173
    Phone: 518-758-6248 Ext. 12 Fax: 518-758-8988

  • Taghkanic Town Court

    Address: 909 Route 82, Ancram NY 12502
    Phone: 518-851-7638 Ext. 305

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