Today, we’re talking about adjournments in a criminal case. If you attending court or involved in a criminal case that’s ongoing, how do you ask for an adjournment? Under what circumstances will a court allow you to have more time?
If you are involved in an ongoing criminal case in court, but you have not decided what to do or you don’t know how to arrive at a decision whether to plead guilty or to claim trial, you can ask for time.
The court will grant you a reasonable amount of time for example 1 to 2 weeks or perhaps more if you can give good reasons why. For example, if you need time to consult a lawyer or to even locate a lawyer, that is what the court can give you time to do.
Another reason that you can give for an adjournment is that your lawyer needs time to obtain documents from the investigators or from other parties. Whether you are represented by a lawyer or you are representing yourself in the case, you can also ask for time and to request for an adjournment to be given by the court if you need a bit more time to prepare a letter of appeal or representations to be sent to the prosecution.
If you have already decided to plead guilty to the charge, you can also ask for an adjournment if you need time to raise the money that is needed to pay for the fine that will be imposed.
If you are aware or you’re sure that you will face a sentence of imprisonment after pleading guilty, you can also ask for time to settle your personal affairs. For example, if you need time to find someone else to look after your wife, or your children or your dependents at home, the court can consider this and give you a bit more time to prepare for this.
What is important to bear in mind is that you cannot simply absent yourself from the court if you have other things to do without first obtaining the court’s permission. If you fail to attend court when you are required to do so, a warrant of arrest will be issued against you and you will be arrested by the authorities.
What is also important to bear in mind if you absent yourself from the court, is that your bailor or your surety will be asked to attend court to give reasons why the bail money shouldn’t be forfeited.
If you are unable to attend court because you’re unwell or ill, what you should do is obtain a medical certificate from the doctor in advance stating clearly that you are unfit, you are unsuitable, you are unwell and you cannot attend court for that reason.
Any other normal medical certificate which does not that you are unfit to attend court will not be enough for the court to excuse your attendance.
So, there you have it, some simple information about adjournments, what the court considers, and how you can go about asking for one. Thanks for watching, see you again soon. Bye-bye!