You may be asking yourself what is 30.30 time that everyone keeps talking about in New York Courts? What is a 30.30 speedy trial dismissal? What is a 30.30 time waiver? Below is everything you need to know about New York’s Speedy Trial time under CPL 30.30.
Right to Speedy Trial Time in Federal and State Criminal Cases
Both in the federal and state system, the criminally accused have a right to a Speedy Trial. Specifically, this right comes from the Sixth Amendment, of the Constitution, which states – “In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial.”
What is 30.30 time?
In New York, the Speedy Trial provision is codified in Criminal Procedure Law Section 30.30. Specifically, the statute provides that a judge must grant a motion to dismiss if the People exceed these time periods:
Violations: 30.30 Time
Violations (which are punishable by 15 days jail), have a 30 day 30.30 clock, under CPL Section 30.30(1)(d). This also includes vehicle and traffic law infractions.
Misdemeanors: 30.30 Time
There are two classes of Misdemeanors. Class “A” Misdemeanors, which are punishable by up to a year jail. As well as, Class “B” Misdemeanors, which are punishable by up to 60 days jail.
Under CPL Section 30.30(1)(b) Class “A” Misdemeanors have 90 days 30.30 time, while Class “B” Misdemeanors have 60 days 30.30 time under CPL Section 30.30(1)(c).
Felonies: 30.30 Time
Felonies, which are serious crimes punishable by over one year in prison, have 180 days of 30.30 time under CPL Section 30.30(1)(a).
30.30 Time on Charges of Different Severity on the Same Complaint
Importantly, if the charges are of different severity, the applicable 30.30 time is based on the most serious charge.
For example, let’s say someone is charged with Grand Larceny in the Fourth Degree (a Class “E” Non-violent felony) and Petit Larceny (a Class “A” Misdemeanor). Therefore the applicable 30.30 time for both charges is that of a Felony. Because that is the most serious charge. Thus, the judge will dismiss both charges on the 181 day after arraignment if there is no legally significant action taken by the prosecutor.
How is 30.30 time calculated?
Unfortunately, calculating 30.30 speedy trial time isn’t as simple as just looking at the calendar. If that were the case, more attorneys would enjoy doing the 30.30 time calculations. As you may know, attorneys are notoriously bad at math. Rather, there are many provisions that start and stop the running of the Speedy Trial clock.
Therefore, it is absolutely essential for criminal attorneys and for our clients to track the 30.30 time on each court date. That could be the difference between a dismissal and a plea with significant jail time. Although the prosecutors should be keeping track of 30.30 time, they rarely do. When in doubt, you should ask your attorney about your remaining 30.30 time.
When does the 30.30 Clock Start Running?
The 30.30 clock starts running at the arraignment. An arraignment is the first appearance on a case, when the judge reads the charges and determines bail conditions. At the time of Arraignment, the speedy trial time is at zero. However, the 30.30 clock starts running and doesn’t stop until there is a legally signification action that happens.
For example, on a Class “A” misdemeanor case, if the prosecutor never picks up the file after arraignment, the judge will dismiss your case after the 91 day. Similarly, on a felony, if the prosecutor doesn’t bother presenting the case to the Grand Jury, the judge will dismiss your case after the 181 day.
However, it is important to understand that usually events happen within that period, results in cases going on or months, if not years.
When does the 30.30 Clock Stop?
Although misdemeanors and felonies all initiate in Criminal Court, they are different charges and therefore have different procedural steps.
Misdemeanors: Stopping 30.30 Clock
For Misdemeanor cases, in order for the case to go forward, the charging document must be an “Information.” This document is a sworn statement or statements, which do not contain any unsworn allegations. An information is different from a complaint because the complaint contains unsworn, or hearsay statements from other people.
Converting a Misdemeanor into an Information
For example, Officer Smith can write in the complaint that he personally saw someone drive a car while under the influence of alcohol. If Officer Smith swears to his observations in the complaint under penalty of perjury, the complaint is an information.
However, if the complaint states Officer Jones told Officer Smith about the facts, the document is not an information. Because it contains an unsworn statement by Officer Jones. In order for the complaint to become an information, Officer Jones has to sign a separate document under penalty of perjury swearing to the allegations. This is called “conversion” – the transformation of a complaint into an information. The separate document that Officer Jones will sign is called a “supporting deposition.”
When does the 30.30 clock stop running on a Misdemeanor?
The 30.30 clock is still running until the complaint is converted into an information. Importantly, if the complaint does not contain any unsworn allegations, it is an information from the start. Therefore, the prosecution can say they are “converted” at Arraignment. Thus, this would stop the 30.30 clock until the next court appearance. However, if the People have a complaint, the 30.30 clock keeps running until the prosecutor turns the complaint into an information.
Felonies: Stopping the 30.30 Clock
On a felony matter, the clock keeps running until the prosecutor (1) presents the case to the Grand Jury, (2) votes an Indictment and (3) notifies the Court of the Indictment either in open court or by filing the Indictment with the Clerk of the Court.
Calculations of 30.30 Time
After the conversion to an Information and the filing of the Indictment, each case follows relatively the same steps:
Arraignment on the Indictment (felony only) --> Discovery --> Motion Practice --> Hearings --> Trial
With each stage of the case, the prosecutor has to say if they are “ready” to “not ready to proceed” and request a certain amount of time – i.e. 2 weeks of 30.30 time, which is the predicted date of being “ready.” Thus, the 30.30 time is calculated by combining 30.30 time used pre-filing of the indictment (or an information) and any subsequent time requests. Importantly, some time periods are excluded from the 30.30 time calculations as explained below:
Announcing “Ready” To Stop 30.30 Clock Outside of Court Dates
In some situations, a prosecutor does not know how much time to request from the Court. For example, let’s say the case is on for trial, but a witness that the Prosecution needs to call has left the country. The prosecutor, cannot in good faith make a specific time request unless they know that the witness will be back in 2 weeks.
An off-calendar “Statement of Readiness” resolves this issue. The prosecutor is able to ask the Court to charge 30.30 time until the filing of the statement of readiness. A statement of readiness is a document a prosecutor files with the Court and serves on the Defense attorney when the Government is in fact, ready to proceed.
Inconsistent Readiness: Sibblies Decision
In 2014, the New York Court of Appeals decided a case titled People v. Sibblies, to explain what happens to 30.30 time if the prosecutor files an off-calendar statement of readiness and then announced “not ready” on the next court date. The Court of Appeals explained that the judge presiding over the case must look at the reason for the change in “readiness” between the filing of the off-calendar statement of readiness and the next court date. If it appears that the off-calendar Statement of Readiness was illusory, it doesn’t count.
Therefore, the prosecutor would be charged 30.30 time for the entire period. However, the reason for filing the off-calendar statement of readiness may be different from the reason why the prosecutor isn’t ready on the next court date. If that happens, then only the 30.30 time from the previous court date to the filing of the Statement of Readiness is chargeable.
Application of Sibblies
Let’s say the case is on for trial on January 2. The prosecutor announces “not ready for trial.” Also, the prosecutor requests to be charged until the filing statement of readiness. The prosecutor request an adjournment because he doesn’t have hospital records necessary for trial. The judge adjourns the trial to January 30. On January 5, the prosecutor files an off-calendar statement of readiness. On January 30, the prosecutor announced “not ready” for trial again.
Valid Statement of Readiness
If the prosecutor obtained the necessary medical records on January 5, but had to announce not ready because of a family emergency on January 30, this is a valid statement of readiness. Here, there’s only 4 days of chargeable 30.30 time between January 2 and January 30. That is from January 2 to January 5.
However, if the prosecutor announced not ready on January 30 because he still didn’t have the medical records, the off calendar statement of readiness would be invalid. Therefore, the entire period from January 2 to January 30 would be charged as 30.30 time. Hence the Government would be charged 29 days! That is almost 1/3 of all speedy trial time on a Class “A” Misdemeanor.”
When calculating 30.30 time, it may be useful to use a duration calculator, rather than doing it manually by looking at the calendar. One can be found here.
Exclusions to 30.30 Time
The following are excluded from calculations of 30.30 time:
- A reasonable period of delay resulting from other proceedings concerning the defendant. For example, this includes time for:
- determination of competency and the period during which defendant is incompetent to stand trial; pre-trial motions; appeals; trial on a different case. Importantly, this also includes the period during which the Court is considering these matters.
- Adjournments either with the consent or at the request of the Defense attorney. This is usually done to facilitate resolutions.
- Period of time where the defendant is absent or unavailable. Such as when his location is unknown or s/he is avoiding prosecution or apprehension.
- Time period when defendant escaped from custody or failed to appear to court. Usually, when a defendant fails to appear for court, the Judge issues a bench warrant.
- When the defendant is incarcerated in another jurisdiction, if the prosecutor was diligent and made reasonable efforts to produce defendant for trial.
- Period during which he is without an attorney, due to no fault of the Court. However, this provision does not apply if the defendant is acting as his/her own attorney. This is known as proceeding pro se.
- Exceptional circumstances, which involve unavailability of material evidence. Importantly, not every situation with evidentiary unavailability is “exceptional.” A judge will make that determination if presented with a motion to dismiss pursuant to CPL 30.30.
- Period prior to the arraignment on the accusatory instrument such as an indictment or a complaint.
- Period during which there is a pending family court proceeding regarding family offenses.
What is a 30.30 Time Waiver and When Does It Make Sense?
A 30.30 waiver is a document that the defense attorney submits to the prosecutor consenting to an exclusion of time. This makes sense when the defense attorney needs to investigate the case further, or is working out a plea with the prosecutor.
Bail Modification and Release on Recognizance Under CPL 30.30(2)
Under CPL 30.30(2), an incarcerated individual may have their bail lowered if the prosecutor isn’t ready for trial within a certain time period. Specifically, this means that an individual may be released on their own recognizance and have their bail be set at $0.
Different Time Periods for Bail Modification under CPL 30.30(2)
Unlike CPL 30.30 (1) relating to Speedy Trial, CPL 30.30(2) relating to bail cancellation has shorter time period. These are described below:
Felonies (exceptions described below)
90 days from commitment into custody.
Class “A” Misdemeanors
30 days from commitment into custody.
Class “B” Misdemeanors
15 days from commitment into custody.
5 days from commitment into custody.
Exceptions to CPL 30.30 (2)
Under 30.30(2), motions to modify bail under CPL 30.30(2), do not apply to the following:
- individuals serving a term of imprisonment for another offense;
- those who are awaiting trial for another offense, which still has CPL 30.30(2) time left;
- individuals who are released pursuant to this provision and then get rearrested, violate the conditions of their release or don’t show up for court.
Charges Exempt from CPL 30.30(1) and CPL 30.30(2)
The following charges are excluded from Speedy Trial and Bail Modification Provisions:
- Criminally Negligent Homicide (Penal Law 125.10),
- Manslaughter in the Second Degree (Penal Law 125.15),
- Manslaughter in the First Degree (Penal Law 125.20),
- Murder in the Second Degree (Penal Law 125.25),
- Aggravated Murder (Penal Law 125.26) and
- Murder in the First Degree (Penal Law 125.27)
Calculate your way to a 30.30 dismissal
CPL 30.30 time protects your rights to get a speedy trial as well as get you released on your own recognizance if the prosecutor isn’t ready to proceed with the case. It is important that you understand how 30.30 time is calculated and how much 30.30 time is left on your case. Contact us today if you have questions on calculations, or would like to discuss your case further.