Understanding the Criminal and Civil Justice Systems

it is unnecessary for you to be there. During this time, both attorneys have the right to request continuances or postponements. Defense attorneys frequently request

numerous continuances to “age the case.” They know that the longer

Continuances are very common, but

they can postpone trial, the more likely

the State will lose its witnesses, and witnesses’ memories will fade. Ask the prosecutor to vigorously oppose unnecessary continuances. Continuances may be requested by the prosecutor or by the defense attorney and are often granted for legitimate reasons, such as work conflicts, unavailability of witnesses, etc. They do not necessarily mean that your case is being ignored. In some states the judge is required to state on the record the reason for granting a continuance. Plea Agreements To avoid going to trial, the defendant may: • agree to plead guilty to one or more charges in exchange for the dismissal of one or more other charges; • plead guilty to a lesser degree of the charged offense; • or plead guilty to the charged offense in exchange for the prosecution’s agreement to recommend a lenient sentence, to not recommend the maximum sentence, or to make no recommendation at all. Most impaired driving cases are resolved through a plea agreement. In some can be very frustrating.


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