How Criminal Cases Start in New York Local Criminal Courts 

An action regarding a crime is first commenced by filing an accusatory instrument with a criminal court. If more than one instrument is filed in the course of the same crime, action commences when the first instrument is filed. The only way a criminal action can be commenced in a superior court is by filing through a grand jury an indictment against a defendant who’s never been held by a local criminal court for the action of said grand jury in regards to any charge contained in the indictment. A criminal action can be commenced only in a local criminal court, by filing a local criminal court accusatory instrument.

Commencement of Action

A criminal court must have concurrent jurisdiction over family offenses, notwithstanding of course the fact that a family court might be exercising jurisdiction over a petition containing mostly the same allegations that were set forth in the accusatory instrument or indictment.

Local Criminal Court Accusatory Instruments

Information is a verified written accusation by a person, filed with a local criminal court, charging one or more people with the commission of one or more crimes, none of which being a felony. It might serve as a basis for the commencement of a crime and for the prosecution of the crime in a local criminal court. A simplified traffic information is a written accusation by a police officer or other public servant, filed with a local criminal court, that charges a person with the commission of one or more traffic infractions and/or misdemeanor crimes related to traffic. Being in a brief or simplified form prescribed by the commissioner of motor vehicles, this designates the offense or offenses charged but actually doesn’t contain factual allegations for use as evidence that support such charges.

It’s a basis for commencement of a crime for said traffic offenses, alternative to charging them by a regular information, and, under certain circumstances, it may serve, either in whole or in part, as a basis for prosecution. A simplified parks information is a written accusation by a police officer or other public servant, filed with a local criminal court, that charges a person with the commission of one or more crimes, other than a felony, for which a uniform simplified parks information could be issued in relation to the parks and recreation law and navigation law. Being in a brief or simplified form prescribed by the commissioner of parks and recreation, this designates the offenses charged but doesn’t actually contain factual allegations for use as evidence that support such charges.

It also serves as a basis for commencement of a criminal action for such crimes, alternative to the charging of them by a regular information, and, under certain circumstances, it may serve, either in whole or in part, as a basis for prosecution of said charges. A simplified environmental conservation information is a written accusation by a police officer or other public servant, filed with a local criminal court, that charges a person with the commission of one or more crimes, other than a felony, for which a uniform simplified environmental conservation information could be issued in relation to the environmental conservation law. Being in a brief or simplified form prescribed by the commissioner of environmental conservation, this designates the offenses charged but doesn’t actually contain factual allegations for use as evidence that support such charges. It serves as a basis for commencement of a criminal action for such crimes, alternative to the charging of them by a regular information, and, under certain circumstances, it may serve, either in whole or in part, as a basis for prosecution of said charges.

So if you’re facing charges, or would like to make sure that you’re protected should charges ever be leveled against you, you can count on the years of experience that Joseph Potashnik and Associates, PC offer, with an experience that’s sure to illuminate for you the complexities of New York state law without overwhelming you. At Joseph Potashnik and Associates, PC, the people always come first.