Can I postpone my criminal defense trial? 66 Answers as of July 03, 2013

I need to keep postponing court until I can get a real lawyer. How many times can I postpone it?

Ask a Local Attorney. 100% Anonymous. Free Answers.

Free Case Evaluation by a Local Lawyer: Click here
Austin Legal Services, PLC
Austin Legal Services, PLC | Jared Austin
You can keep getting adjournments as long as there is "good cause." Keep in mind, however, that the more you ask for the more inclined the judge is to deny them as a continuous stall tactic.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 8/24/2011
Law Office of Phillip Weiser
Law Office of Phillip Weiser | Phillip L. Weiser
The date of a trial is controlled by the trial court judge. There are no set number of times a case can be continued. Each case is set on the requirements of the court and the specific facts of the case.
Answer Applies to: Kansas
Replied: 8/22/2011
Michael Breczinski
Michael Breczinski | Michael Breczinski
Until the judge refuses to postpone it anymore. Appointed attorneys are real lawyers. Some are bad and some are good and some are great, just like retained lawyers.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 8/20/2011
Law Offices of John Carney
Law Offices of John Carney | John Carney
You will be given a few adjournments to retain an attorney, after that the judge will probably get annoyed and threaten to set bail if you don't show up with an attorney. He may decide to appoint one if you are indigent or otherwise qualify for one. After you raise the funds you can replace the public defender with a private attorney if you ask the public defender to adjourn the case a few times. If it is not a serious case you may get good results from a public defender, but with such serious consequences as jail, a criminal record, and your reputation at stake it is always best to to retain the best criminal attorney in your city that you can afford. That means a lawyer who has spent at least 20 years in that courtroom and has a lot of connections with the police, prosecutors, and others who will be involved in making decisions on your case. Often a good criminal attorney can convince the prosecutor to dismiss the charges or reduce them to a violation so that you do not have a criminal record.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 8/19/2011
Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg
Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg | Eric Sterkenburg
If you have good cause and depending on what your charge is you should take it out 3-6 months. contact me with the facts and I can give you a better answer and tell you how to proceed.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 8/19/2011
    Beaulier Law Office
    Beaulier Law Office | Maury Beaulier
    A court will likely grant only one continuance in order to hire legal counsel unless a particularized reason for a continuance is stated.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 8/18/2011
    Andersen Law PLLC
    Andersen Law PLLC | Craig Andersen
    The decision to continue or postpone a criminal trial is entirely up to the trial judge. Generally judges will only continue a trial once or possibly twice. Your request to continue will need to be accompanied by a speedy trial waiver.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/18/2011
    Law Office of Andrew Subin
    Law Office of Andrew Subin | Andrew Subin
    That will be up to the judge. Normally, we can continue a case for 6 months at least.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/18/2011
    Dunnings Law Firm
    Dunnings Law Firm | Steven Dunnings
    How many lawyers have you had?
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 6/26/2013
    Edward  D. Dowling IV Attorney at Law
    Edward D. Dowling IV Attorney at Law | Edward D. Dowling IV
    It is up to the judge, but you should try to get an attorney as soon as possible.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 8/18/2011
    Craig W. Elhart, P.C.
    Craig W. Elhart, P.C. | Craig Elhart
    Generally, you can only postpone a trial if there is good cause. Wanting to postpone so you can get a different lawyer is not usually seen as good cause.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/18/2011
    Gutin and Wolverton
    Gutin and Wolverton | Harley Gutin
    Continuing a pending trial is difficult. However, most judges will generally allow you one or two continuances, prior to actually setting it on their trial docket on minor cases and many more on serious cases depending on whether your setting depositions and disclosing many witnesses. Retaining new counsel in good faith is a basis to get it continued.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 8/18/2011
    Wallin & Klarich: A Law Corporation
    Wallin & Klarich: A Law Corporation | Paul Wallin
    There is no set limit as to the number of continuances. For each request you must show "good cause" and convince the judge to continue the case. However, most judges will not continue the case because you are "trying to retain a lawyer".
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/18/2011
    Smith & John
    Smith & John | Kenneth Craig Smith, Jr.
    That is up to the judge. Once a reasonable amount of time has passed, the matter will simply move forward towards trial.
    Answer Applies to: Louisiana
    Replied: 8/18/2011
    Arnold & Wadsworth
    Arnold & Wadsworth | Brian Arnold
    Tell them you are hiring private counsel but make sure you have private counsel lined up.
    Answer Applies to: Utah
    Replied: 8/18/2011
    Timothy J. Thill P.C.
    Timothy J. Thill P.C. | Timothy J. Thill
    Continuances are discretionary with the judge presiding in your case. I did not know there were unreal attorneys. If you are referring to a public defender, I must inform you that they are real lawyers, believe it or not, so don't sell them short!
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 8/18/2011
    Klisz Law Office, PLLC
    Klisz Law Office, PLLC | Timothy J. Klisz
    Until the court tells you no more adjournments. Just hire your lawyer now and don't risk it!
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/18/2011
    Michael Maltby, Attorney at Law
    Michael Maltby, Attorney at Law | Michael Maltby
    There is no set limit forcontinuances. It depends on the charge and the court and oftentimes whether you are in or out of custody. Some cases take a long time to get to trial when the parties are trying to get them overwith. I suggest you talk to an attorney that you hope to hire and ask him/her this question.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/18/2011
    Thomas J. Tomko Attorney At law
    Thomas J. Tomko Attorney At law | Thomas J. Tomko
    Many times you can get an adjournment that you request. At some point, the Judge will grant no further adjournments. There is often no advantage to an adjournment just for the heck of it. Sooner or later the case will need to go to trial. If the Judge is peeved at all of the adjournments, the attorney you hire may be jammed into trial on short notice, which will give them less time to prepare. Therefore, you should do everything you can to get your retained attorney as soon as possible. Also, decisions are made along the way prior to trial. If you wait too long, you may prejudice your case to where the attorney you retain will not be able to accomplish things that could have been done earlier. If so, the delays may hurt your defense. I hope that this was helpful.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/17/2011
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh | Jeff Yeh
    It depends on the Judge/Comissioner, and how busy the court is.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/26/2013
    Law Office of Jonathan T. Sarre
    Law Office of Jonathan T. Sarre | Jonathan T. Sarre
    The short answer is you can postpone your trial as long as the judge will allow you to. If you plan on giving the court the reason in your question, I don't think they'll give you a whole heck of a lot of time.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 8/18/2011
    Law Office of Jared Altman
    Law Office of Jared Altman | Jared Altman
    It's up to the judge.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 8/17/2011
    John Segelbaum, P.S.
    John Segelbaum, P.S. | John Segelbaum
    You can request a continuance but it is up to the judge. Generally after a couple of continuances the court loses patience.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/17/2011
    Cynthia Henley, Lawyer
    Cynthia Henley, Lawyer | Cynthia Henley
    Are you set for trial? Or non-issue? It depends on the court and charge. If you do not hire a lawyer within a couple or three settings, the judge will really lean on you and set a time limit. If you do not hire a lawyer by then, the judge will likely revoke your bond and put you in jail for delaying the case. Most lawyers take payments. You should talk to lawyers you consider to be "real lawyers" and see what you can work out.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 8/17/2011
    Donahue, Sowa & Magana Attorneys at Law
    Donahue, Sowa & Magana Attorneys at Law | Glenn M. Sowa
    Continuances are discretionary with the court. At some point, the judge will want to move your case towards a final resolution. You mention that you need to get a "real lawyer". Any attorney that practices in the courts in Illinois must be licensed by the Supreme Court, thus if you do not have a "real lawyer", that person is in jeopardy of being prosecuted for practicing law without a license. I assume, however, that you are referring to your "public defender". They are "real" lawyers. Many of the public defenders are more competent than some private lawyers. They are definitely dedicated because of their low pay and large volume of work. However, I have never had a public defender object when a private lawyer takes a case away from them.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 8/17/2011
    Law Offices of Martina A. Vigil, PC
    Law Offices of Martina A. Vigil, PC | Martina A. Vigil
    You can postpone it as long as you have good cause. Not having an attorney yet is good cause. The number of continuances allowed is up to the Judge.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/17/2011
    Cornish, Crowley, Rockafellow, & Sartz, PLLC
    Cornish, Crowley, Rockafellow, & Sartz, PLLC | Jacob Peter Sartz IV
    Whether to postpone a trial is ultimately a question for your presiding judge. Occasionally, the prosecution and defense may agree, with the court's consent that adjourning a trial is necessary. Retaining a new attorney may be "good cause" for an adjournment. Occasionally, judges will adjourn various legal proceedings so people can hire new attorneys. However, if the matter is too close to trial, the court may not a substitution of council or request to adjourn a trial.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/17/2011
    Laguzzi Law, P.C.
    Laguzzi Law, P.C. | Carina Laguzzi
    I am not sure what you mean by a "real" lawyer. If you have a Public Defender, that attorney is a real lawyer. However, if you prefer to hire a defense attorney that you choose, the Court will probably allow you at least one continuance. Tell the lawyer that you currently have as soon as possible so that they may alert the Court ahead of time to increase your chances that your continuance request will be granted.
    Answer Applies to: Pennsylvania
    Replied: 8/17/2011
    Anderson Law Office
    Anderson Law Office | Scott L. Anderson
    It depends on the Judge. After a few postponements certain judges will demand that you go forward.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 8/17/2011
    Shane Law Office
    Shane Law Office | Robert J. Shane
    There is no set number of times that you can successfully continue a criminal trial. You will need to show "good cause" for the court to grant your request for a continuance. Your best approach would be to explain to the judge that you need a continuance in order to raise the funds to hire a private attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 8/17/2011
    Law Office of Brendan M. Kelly
    Law Office of Brendan M. Kelly | Brendan M. Kelly
    A postponement is all up to the court. Most judges will give people a number of attempts to find an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 8/17/2011
    Frances R. Johnson
    Frances R. Johnson | Frances R. Johnson
    That will vary depending upon the judge of the court where the charge is pending. Most judges typically will not let a case be re-set numerous times and will tell you when your last opportunity is.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 8/17/2011
    Law Office of Neal L. Weinstein
    Law Office of Neal L. Weinstein | Neal L. Weinstein
    As many times as the judge will let you, but if you have already postponed it and not hired a lawyer, he can make you go to trial without a lawyer, so you need to hire someone immediately.
    Answer Applies to: Maine
    Replied: 8/17/2011
    Gregory Casale Attorney at Law
    Gregory Casale Attorney at Law | Gregory Casale
    You can keep postponing it until he judge tells you "No More". The problem is that if you come into a lawyer's office and tell him that the judge says he must go to trial in a week or two, you will have a hard time getting the lawyer. You need to get a lawyer on board as soon as possible.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 8/17/2011
    Healan Law Offices
    Healan Law Offices | William D. Healan, III
    It is up to the judge.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 6/26/2013
    Goolsby Law Office
    Goolsby Law Office | Richard Goolsby
    We recommend you see your attorney and if you plan to hire another one, you should try to do so well before the trial date. Continuances are not a guarantee. Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 8/17/2011
    The Law Offices of Christopher J. McCann
    The Law Offices of Christopher J. McCann | Christopher J. McCann
    There is no specific limit; any continuance requires "good cause" among other things. Let the court know you are hiring a lawyer. It will help to actually have had a meeting or two with some local attorneys that you could tell the judge so that he/she knows you are serious. Especially if they are local names the judge has heard of.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/17/2011
    Law Office of Michael Morgan, l.L.C.
    Law Office of Michael Morgan, l.L.C. | Michael Morgan
    First of all, if you are already represented by a lawyer the presumption is that your lawyer is competent. I am a former judge and while judges have a lot of discretion whether to grant or deny a continuance the two concerns normally will be 1) whether the prosecution is prejudiced by a continuance and 2) what steps you are taking to get a new lawyer. If you are serious about hiring a lawyer that would normally mean to a court that you have either the resources/money to pay for a lawyer or your making an effort to get the necessary funds and that you have spoken with a lawyer that has said that he or she would consider taking your case. If you have not made the requisite effort a judge should not grant a continuance. I would tell you when defendants use expressions like "real lawyer" that is often code among defendants for a public defender but it is also code to other lawyers that this is a difficult client. Not all lawyers are good lawyers and not all lawyers are a good fit for all clients but if you ask a judge to grant a continuance so you can find a "real lawyer" a judge might think that you won't be able to find a lawyer you like or that a good lawyer might decline to take your case because you are too difficult to work within which case they will want the case to go forward and will be unwilling to grant a continuance.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/17/2011
    Law Office of Rankin Johnson IV, LLC
    Law Office of Rankin Johnson IV, LLC | Rankin Johnson IV
    It's up to the judge. If you plan to hire a lawyer, that will probably get you a few weeks, but maybe no more than that. The judge will have seen someone trying to postpone trial incessantly by promising to hire a lawyer and then not doing so.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 8/17/2011
    Law Office of Joe Dane
    Law Office of Joe Dane | Joe Dane
    You can seek to continue for a reasonable period of time. What's reasonable? As long as the judge says it is. If you're just looking to stall the case and the judge doesn't think you're really serious about hiring an attorney, they may deny your further request to continue the case. Keep business cards of the attorneys you're seeing and have them ready to show the judge, should they ask. It also matters what stage your case is at. If this is early on and you're moving forward on finding an attorney to take the entire case, it will probably be easier to get some time. If you're right before trial, a judge may not look as favorably on your request.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/17/2011
    Nelson & Lawless
    Nelson & Lawless | Terry Nelson
    As many times as the judge will let you, for good cause you must establish to justify your request, but he is going to run out of patience if you dont do what you promise about getting an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/17/2011
    The Law Office of Kevin O'Grady
    The Law Office of Kevin O'Grady | Kevin O'Grady
    The continuance of a criminal trial is up to the trial judge. With good reason many judges will continue a trial. An earnest effort to obtain replacement counsel may get the trial continued perhaps a time or two. Judges control their calendars and different cases are treated differently, for example felonies versus misdemeanors.
    Answer Applies to: Hawaii
    Replied: 8/17/2011
    Michael D. Fluke, P.A.
    Michael D. Fluke, P.A. | Michael D. Fluke
    That is going to depend on the judge in your case and your current lawyer's ability to come up with a better reason than the client wants to get a real lawyer. I suggest you move as quickly as possible as judges don't always continue trial dates. Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 8/17/2011
    Gary Moore, Attorney at Law
    Gary Moore, Attorney at Law | Gary Moore
    The answer to your question depends on the Court's priorities for moving cases; the age of your case; the availability of witnesses; you reasons for requesting the adjournments. If you can reasonably estimate when you will be able hire an attorney and that time is not too far off, an adjournment might be granted by the court, on that basis. If you call me so that we can discuss your specific situation I will attempt to give you a better answer to your question.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 8/17/2011
    Eric J Schurman, Attorney at Law
    Eric J Schurman, Attorney at Law | Eric James Schurman
    That's all up to the judge. The longer you wait, the more difficult it will be to have a new attorney be able to substitute in
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/17/2011
    Law Office of James A Schoenberger
    Law Office of James A Schoenberger | James A Schoenberger
    As often and as long as the judge will allow.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 6/26/2013
    Freeborn Law Offices, P.S.
    Freeborn Law Offices, P.S. | Steve Freeborn
    It depends on how many times the court will allow you. Generally a court will give you maybe 2 continuances to get an attorney, after that you are pushing it. In regards to "a real attorney", I assume that is a dig on public defenders. There are some very good public defenders out there. I think some of them are good enough that they could make a very good living as a private pay attorney. Just because an attorney is private, doesn't always mean he/she is good.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/17/2011
    Watkins Law Office
    Watkins Law Office | Bob Watkins
    The Court may grant one or two continuances but will not allow delays without cause. If a defendant persists in asking for a continuance and the reason stated is not having a lawyer, the defendant could be forced to proceed pro se in the case or given a specific period of time to have a lawyer file an appearance. The Court might also insist on appointment of a public defender to avoid any further delay.
    Answer Applies to: New Hampshire
    Replied: 8/17/2011
    Harris Law Firm
    Harris Law Firm | Jennifer C. Robins
    Generally, courts in Oregon will allow a defendant one reset to retain counsel.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 8/17/2011
    Law Office of Joseph Lamy
    Law Office of Joseph Lamy | Joseph Lamy
    Most judges (and I stress most because this is truly dependent on the judge you are assigned) will allow you one continuance of a period between 1-3 weeks in order to find a private attorney. If there are special circumstances the judge may be willing to give a second continuance but I would not expect them to allow you to delay the proceedings any longer than that. Let me know if I can be of help.
    Answer Applies to: Rhode Island
    Replied: 8/17/2011
    Bloom Legal, LLC
    Bloom Legal, LLC | Seth J. Bloom
    If you have a valid reason to postpone your trial you can request a continuance which will allow you to reschedule your hearing to a later date. There is no quick rule for the number of times that you may do this but the court will generally allow you to do so as long as they do not have any reason to believe that you are being untruthful about your reason for needing the continuance. If you are seeking legal representation in this matter in Louisiana, I invite you to contact my firm at the information on this page for a free case evaluation.
    Answer Applies to: Louisiana
    Replied: 8/17/2011
    Miller & Harrison, LLC
    Miller & Harrison, LLC | David Harrison
    I am not sure what you mean by a 'real' lawyer, but the number of times a case can be continued really varies by county and by judge. Judge's are under some pressure to close out cases so they hate continuing them too much. If you mean you have a public defender but want to hire a private lawyer, then you should discuss your goal with the lawyer you want to hire and they may be able to work out a payment plan or some other way to accomplish the goal and still get them involved in the case earlier on than otherwise might occur.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 8/17/2011
    The Office of Benjamin Daniel
    The Office of Benjamin Daniel | Benjamin Daniel
    You can only postpone for a good reason not just for delay. It sounds like you need a lawyer right now to give you correct in person advice based on your particular fact situation. Delay may not be in your best interest.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 8/17/2011
    Wallin & Klarich: A Law Corporation
    Wallin & Klarich: A Law Corporation | Christopher Lee
    It is up to the court to grant continuances (postponements). You can always appear at the court date and explain to the court that you are gathering funds to hire an attorney and to continue the case so you can hire an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/17/2011
    Attorney at Law
    Attorney at Law | Michael J. Kennedy
    You can generally get continuances as long as you have legitimate grounds to do so; of course, the courts know it doesn't take more than a couple of continuances to ascertain whether you can afford to obtain counsel and then to so obtain.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/17/2011
    Law Office of Mark Bruce
    Law Office of Mark Bruce | Mark Corwin Bruce
    A "real" lawyer? Is your imaginary friend representing you now? Anyway, the court will tell you when it's fed up with the continuances. My guess is that you are shopping for lawyers right now. You probably don't have the money to hire one right now. Unless you plan on getting a sudden influx of cash, you may want to re-think the plan of putting the court off over and over. When you get a lawyer he or she will likely need to continue the case just to get up to speed. So to answer your question: The court controls how often if finds "good cause" to continue.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/3/2013
    Law Office of Thomas J. Ogas
    Law Office of Thomas J. Ogas | Thomas Ogas
    Its not a matter of how many times a case can be postponed, its about the reason for the postponement. Each county court handles trial settings differently as well some counties are so busy they really don't care how far trials get pushed back, other courts push hard to get cases cleared from their dockets. No matter where you are, consult with an attorney anyhow even if you cant afford one now. Find out from them, in their opinion, how long you can postpone the case, and then determine if you can hire them (and afford them) in the time that you have.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/17/2011
Click to View More Answers:
12 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 Free Legal QuestionsConnect with a local attorney