Rensselaer County Criminal Court hears all criminal cases in Rensselaer County. Below you will find specific information about criminal cases and how they are handled in Rensselaer County.
Prosecutor in Rensselaer County
In Rensselaer County, the prosecutor is an attorney representing Rensselaer County. In some cases, the prosecutor may actually represent New York. For the most part, the prosecutor in Rensselaer County has discretion to both decide whether to file charges and also negotiate a potential plea deal with the defendant.
Rensselaer County Arraignments
An arraignment is a court hearing. In Rensselaer County this is the first thing that will happen in a criminal case. The defendant will be brought before a judge in Rensselaer 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 Rensselaer 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.
Can I request a Plea Agreement?
In Rensselaer 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.
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.
If guilty, who sentences the defendant?
If the defendant is found guilty after the trial, the defendent will be sentenced. In some cases, this can occur at the same hearing the defendant is found guilty in court, in other cases a separate hearing will be required. Often the prosecution will request a particular sentence for the defendant and the judge will determine whether to enforce this sentence or impose a different sentence for the defendant.
Burden of Proof
The burden of proof is always on the prosecution in a criminal trial. In other words, the prosecution has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant committed the crime. The defense must only prove that there is a reasonable possibility that the defendant did NOT commit the crime. If the prosecution cannot prove that the defendant committed the crime beyond a reasonable doubt, the jury will be instructed to find the defendant not-guilty.
Right to Jury Trial
For “Serious Crimes”, those that can have a potential penalty of 6 months in jail OR a minimum $500 penalty, the US Constitution guarantees a right to trial by jury. This is guaranteed by Article III of the Constitution and the 6th Amendment. The accused has the ability to waive their right to trial by jury.
What is Jury Deliberation?
After both the prosecution and defense have presented their cases, the judge in the case will provide instructions to the jury about what they must decide. The jury will be dismissed to the jury room where they will deliberate about the guilt or innocence of the defendant. After reaching a unaminous decision, they return their decision to the court where it is read aloud in the courtroom. If the jury is unable to reach a unaminous decision, the jury is deadlocked, also known as a hung jury, in which a mistrial will be declared.
Who can help me in Rensselaer County?
For general information about your case the Rensselaer County court clerk will be able to provide legal information about your specific criminal case. Legal information is not legal advice though, the court clerk will only be able to provide information about your case, like date/time of hearings what will occur at the hearing and what you may be required to do in the hearing. They cannot provide advice about what you should do or what the best legal options may be for your particular case. Only an attorney can provide legal advice and this is your best place for information about your specific criminal proceeding. If you cannot afford to hire a private attorney to represent you, a judge will appoint an attorney to represent you, this is most often a public defender.
Rensselaer County Criminal Court locations
Criminal proceedings take place in the Rensselaer County Criminal Courts. A list of the criminal courts are located here.
What if I can’t afford an attorney?
The 6th Amendment guarantees you the right to an attorney whether or not you can afford one. If you cannot afford one, a public defender will be appointed by the court to represent you.
Required Court Appearances in Rensselaer County
Any required court appearances in Rensselaer County Criminal Court must be attended by the defendant. Failure to appear in court at your required date and time may result in the judge issuing an arrest warrant.
Rensselaer County Criminal Court Locations
Rensselaer County Surrogate’s Court
Address: 80 Second Street, Troy NY 12180
Phone: 518-285-6105 Fax: 518-272-5452
Rensselaer County Court
Address: 80 Second Street, Troy NY 12180
Phone: 518-285-5025 Fax: 518-270-3714
Rensselaer City Court
Address: 62 Washington Street, Rensselaer NY 12144
Phone: 518-453-4680 Fax: 518-462-3307
Troy City Court
Address: 51 State Street, Troy NY 12180
Phone: 518-453-5900 Fax: 518-274-2916
Berlin Town Court
Address: 65 South Main Street, PO Box 488, Berlin NY 12022
Phone: 518-658-2020 Ext. 3
Brunswick Town Court
Address: 336 Town Office Road, Troy NY 12180
Castleton-On-Hudson Village Court
Address: 85 South Main Street, PO Box 126, Castleton NY 12033
East Greenbush Justice Court
Address: 225 Columbia Turnpike, Rensselaer NY 12144
Grafton Town Court
Address: PO Box 1, Grafton NY 12082
Phone: 518-279-4385 Fax: 518-279-3594
Hoosick Falls Village Court
Address: 24 Main Street, Hoosick Falls NY 12090
Hoosick Town Court
Address: 80 Church Street, Hoosick Falls NY 12090
Phone: 518-686-3335 Fax: 518-686-4745
Nassau Town Court
Address: 29 Church Street, PO Box 587, Nassau NY 12123
Phone: 518-766-2343 Ext. 4 Fax: 518-766-2348
Nassau Village Court
Address: 40 Malden Street, PO Box 452, Nassau NY 12123
Phone: 518-766-3044 Ext. 1
North Greenbush Town Justice Court
Address: 2 Douglas Street, Wynantskill NY 12198
Phone: 518-283-2789 Fax: 518-286-2336
Petersburgh Town Court
Address: 65 Main Street, PO Box 130, Petersburgh NY 12138
Phone: 518-658-3777 Ext. 14
Pittstown Town Court
Address: 123 Tomhannock Road, Valley Falls NY 12185
Poestenkill Town Court
Address: 38 Davis Drive, PO Box 164, Poestenkill NY 12140
Phone: 518-283-5100 Ext. 103 Fax: 518-283-8821
Sand Lake Town Court
Address: 8428 NY 66, PO Box 273, Sand Lake NY 12153
Schaghticoke Town Court
Address: 290 Northline Drive, Melrose NY 12121
Phone: 518-753-6915 Fax: 518-753-4374
Schodack Justice Court
Address: 265 Schuurman Road, Castleton NY 12033
Phone: 518-477-9390 Fax: 518-477-2546
Stephentown Town Court
Address: 26 Grange Hall Road, Stephentown NY 12168
Phone: 518-733-5636 Fax: 518-733-9057