What is an SCI in Westchester County, New York?
An SCI is a Superior Court Information. When an accused appears on a felony charge(s) in the local criminal court in Westchester County the accused can agree to waive indictment by a grand jury and allow the prosecution to present the felony charge(s) in a document known as a Superior Court Information (SCI).
It is extremely important if charged with a felony in any local criminal court to understand the difference between a felony complaint, indictment and an SCI. The top criminal defense lawyers will clearly explain the difference and allow an accused to make an informed decision regarding the best way to defend against the felony charge.
In the simplest terms, a felony complaint is a basic document setting forth the felony charges drafted by the Police or District Attorney's Office. An Indictment is voted on by a grand jury and an SCI is much like a felony complaint after the accused waivers indictment. All these documents involve serious felony charges.
The SCI Conference
In Westchester County an accused in the local criminal court may be offered by the District Attorney to participate in an SCI conference. To participate in the conference is an important decision and very fact specific to each individual case.
If an accused wishes to proceed with an SCI conference they will have to waive certain constitutions rights such as the right to a speedy trial. It is important to consult with a criminal defense lawyer before making the decision to agree to an SCI conference.
At the SCI conference the Judge, District Attorney and Criminal Defense Attorney will meet at the White Plains County Court to discuss and argue the case. There may be multiple SCI conferences but at the end of the SCI Conference process usually a potential plea bargain will be set forth with a sentence indication from the Judge. The accused and the criminal defense attorney then must then consider the next step in the legal defense strategy.
The options are to accept the plea bargain, re-negotiate or reject the plea bargain offer. This occurs at an SCI arraignment in the Westchester County Court.
Outside Westchester County the procedure is similar but there are small variations on the order of events.
What is a Felony Hearing?
A felony hearing's (preliminary hearing) primary function is to assure that an accused charged with a felony is not held in continuing confinement without a preliminary showing that reasonable cause exists to believe that the accused committed a felony. Anyone charged with a felony is entitled to a felony hearing even if they are not in custody but the remedy for failure to timely provide a felony hearing is that the accused is released from jail.
Depending on the factual circumstances a felony hearing may be used by a criminal defense attorney to obtain certain paper discovery and test the prosecution's witnesses. In Westchester County after a felony hearing the felony case is usually sent for grand jury presentation unless the felony is dismissed or reduced.
If accused with a serious felony charge you must understand every step of the process to make informed decisions with the help of a top criminal defense attorney. It is important for an accused to meet with their criminal defense attorney, speak about the strengths and weaknesses of the case and you must always feel involved in the process. Standing in court is not the time to make important life long decisions.
If you or a loved one is facing a criminal charge in Westchester or any of the surrounding counties call the law firm of Proto, Sachs & Brown, LLP.
Our criminal defense attorneys take the time to discuss your case, keep you informed and help you make the best decision about your case. We aggressively represent clients in all criminal matters.
Call today for a free consultation.