Schenectady County Criminal Court handles all criminal cases that are filed in Schenectady County. See below for more information about criminal cases in Schenectady County.
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.
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 is the prosecutor for Schenectady County?
Depending upon the case, the prosecutor for Schenectady County criminal cases will either be a representative of Schenectady County or a representative from New York. After reviewing evidence it is the prosecutor’s decision whether to file charges or drop a case. Most prosecutors have the ability to negotiate plea bargains, and determine how the case will be prosecuted.
Schenectady County Arraignments
An arraignment is a court hearing. In Schenectady County this is the first thing that will happen in a criminal case. The defendant will be brought before a judge in Schenectady 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 Schenectady 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.
What is the Burden of Proof?
The term “Burden of Proof” means that the prosecutor is required to prove the guilt of the defendant beyond a reasonable doubt. If the prosecutor cannot provide proof of the defendants guilt, then the judge or jury in a trial must find the defendant not guilty. In the United States the principle innocent until proven guilty derives from this that the defendant is assumed innocent and the prosecution has the burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty.
Where can I get help for my Schenectady County criminal case?
The 6th amendment of the United States Constitution provides a criminal defendant with the right to an attorney. As read in the miranda rights, this means that if a defendant cannot afford to hire a private attorney a legal attorney will be appointed to the defendant to represent him at no cost to the defendant. This is often a public defender. In addition, the court clerk for Schenectady County will also be able to provide general information about a specific criminal case. The clerk can only provide information and is not an attorney so they cannot provide legal advice, only a licensed attorney can provide legal advice about what the best options for are for your particular case.
Schenectady County Criminal Court locations
Criminal proceedings take place in the Schenectady County Criminal Courts. A list of the criminal courts are located here.
What is a Plea Agreement?
A plea agreement is a deal made between the prosecution and the defendant in a case, where the defendant agrees to plea guilty to a particular charge in exchange for some concession from the prosecutor. In practice, more than 90% of criminal cases end with a plea agreement.
The Right to Counsel
The Fifth and Sixth Amendments to the U.s. Constitution give defendants in criminal cases the right to counsel/attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney one will be appointed to represent you. Like other rights a defendant has, this one can be waived as well and alternatively you can choose to represent yourself.
Schenectady County Required Court Appearances
In Schenectady 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.
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.
Schenectady County Criminal Court Locations
Schenectady County Surrogate’s Court
Address: 612 State Street, Schenectady NY 12305
Phone: 518-285-8455 Fax: 518-451-8732
Schenectady County Court
Address: 612 State Street, Schenectady NY 12305
Phone: 518-285-8401 Fax: 518-451-8731
Schenectady City Court – Civil
Address: 105 Jay Street, Room 215, Schenectady NY 12305
Schenectady City Court – Criminal
Address: 531 Liberty Street, Schenectady NY 12305
Phone: 518-382-5239 Fax: 518-382-5241
Schenectady City Court – Traffic
Address: 105 Jay Street, Room 209, Schenectady NY 12305
Phone: 518-453-6989 Fax: 518-459-8983
Duanesburg Town Court
Address: 5853 Western Turnpike, Duanesburg NY 12056
Glenville Town Court
Address: 18 Glenridge Road, Glenville NY 12302
Phone: 518-688-1200 Ext. 409 Fax: 518-688-1468
Niskayuna Justice Court
Address: One Niskayuna Circle, Niskayuna NY 12309
Phone: 518-386-4560 Fax: 518-386-4515
Princetown Town Court
Address: 165 Princetown Plaza, Schenectady NY 12306
Phone: 518-357-4047 Fax: 518-357-4049
Rotterdam Town Court
Address: 101 Princetown Road, Schenectady NY 12306
Phone: 518-355-7911 Fax: 518-881-0187
Scotia Village Court
Address: 4 North Ten Broeck Street, Scotia NY 12302
Phone: 518-374-2099 Fax: 518-374-5620