If you have been arrested on the grounds of any offense, there is a high possibility that you may face a court date where your bail application will first be heard. Having the backing of competent Westchester County attorneys can help you sail through this process easily. However, based on a number of reasons, the court may decide to deny your bail application. In most cases, bail application denial comes as a result of factors such as the type of crime or charges for which the defendant has been arrested, possible flight risks, risk to society, and other complications. In some cases, the court may grant bail at a high amount, which is aimed at discouraging the bail.

Whatever the court decides during your bail hearing will determine whether or not you will be free to walk home to rejoin family and friends while you plan your defense strategy with the attorney. Following the outcome of your bail application, the court will also decide on the date of the next hearing of your case, this marks the start of your case trial.

Trial court dates are expected to be honored. As in most cases, this can affect the bail chances of the defendant if or when they next get arrested. Defendants who fail to appear on set court dates may be faced with a wide range of disciplinary measures including detention in jail, revocation of an already paid amount in bail and other penalties.

However, there are certain cases where you may demand the postponement of court dates, especially when you are lacking adequate legal help to represent your interest before the court.

Can my court date be postponed until I retain a lawyer?

One of the most common questions asked by detainees is whether or not they can have their court appearance date postponed in the absence of a lawyer. This may be possible, however, the defendant will first have to prove to the court that they are financially incapable of affording a legal representation for their case.


After proving financial incapacitation, the court will provide legal counsel for such a defendant for free. 

While the court may be able to assign a free public defender to the defendant, there is a need to know that there are better chances of adequate legal representation with a private attorney compared to a public defender. The chances of successful representation with a public defender are lower because they potentially have too many cases to handle and have a limited amount of time to go through each case file and design the best legal strategies for each client.

However, choosing a private attorney exposes defendants to a wide range of advantages including specialization in an aspect of law. This means they get to treat fewer case files, affording them the time to better treat each case as unique and develop the best legal strategies for each defendant they represent.

In the event you have not had a chance to meet with either your public defender or private attorney, the court may be able to give you a chance to better understand your plea options by postponing the court appearance date to a later date. 

The court may also be able to grant a postponement of scheduled court dates in the event you switch attorneys. Chances are high that you may be able to request for the postponement of your court date if you have newly switched legal counsel and they have not had enough time to catch up on the case file and other briefs.

Assigning more time to the new attorney by the court is aimed at giving you the best chance at legal representation and also allowing the new legal counsel time to catch up on evidence and better review the case files handed over by the previous attorney. In addition, postponement of a court date also allows the new attorney access to witnesses, thus helping them build a better understanding of the case. 

A judge may be able to grant a continuance in the space of days to weeks, depending on the complexity of the case to be handled. The exact amount of time that will be awarded by the judge will, however, depend on a number of factors including the number of days requested, the complexity of the case, and the judgement of the court.

During the course of a case, you are allowed the chance to switch attorneys for a wide variety of reasons including if you feel your lawyer is not competent enough to represent your interests before the court. It is recommended that you have a solid reason for switching attorneys mid-trial as this can significantly influence the outcome of the case, whether positively or negatively.

Having established the reasons for wanting a delay in court appearance dates to include lack of preparedness, absence of your person or a key witness to the case, avoidance of accumulation of too many points on your driving record over a specific period, you may be able to write to the court to demand such delays.

How to request delay of court appearance date?

When you are in need of a court appearance date delay, you will be required to write to the court, stating the reason for the postponement request. In some cases, you may be able to delay continuance by no more than one week.

It is important to note that most continuance requests made on the day of a court appearance are denied, thus demanding that you send your request letter in ahead of the court date.

After submitting the continuance request, be aware that should you fail to receive a reply before the court date, do not assume that as a grant of request. Instead, it is advisable that you call or visit the court clerk to confirm the response to your request.

It is best to appear in person on trial date should you fail to receive a reply.

When in need of additional help, it is recommended that you speak to an attorney who is both experienced and skilled in the area of law for which you have been charged to court. Visit our Westchester County attorneys today. 


By: Kimberly Pelesz

Family law and criminal defense attorney Kimberly A. Pelesz received a B.S. degree magna cum laude and an M.P.A. degree summa cum laude from Binghamton University. She earned her J.D. from Pace University School of Law in White Plains, where she was selected for Phi Alpha Delta. Her charitable activities include work with My Sisters’ Place in White Plains and the Westchester County District Attorney’s Humane Education Taskforce.