Examples Of Problems That May Convince The Court To Grant Your Case A Continuance

20 December 2016
 Categories: Law, Blog


Did you know that the court can grant you a continuance (a short delay in proceedings) if there are problems with your defense? This only works if the problems weren't foreseeable or couldn't have been prevented. Here are three examples of issues that may convince the court to grant you a continuance:

Inadequate Time to Prepare

You may also get a continuance if you can prove that you didn't have enough tim e to prepare your defense. Naturally, the lack of preparation time must be something that you did not intentionally cause. For example, you may not get a continuance if you didn't talk to your lawyer because you were visiting your cousins. However, if the original lawyer has fallen ill and the alternate counsel hasn't had time to catch up with the case. You have a high chance of getting a continuance due to inadequate preparation time if your case is complex than if your case is relatively simple.


You can seek a continuance if you or your lawyer has fallen ill and are unable to proceed with the case. Of course, this must be a serious illness that will hamper you or your performance in court.  Therefore, don't expect a continuance if you cut your finger while chopping vegetables at home, but the court will probably grant you one if you are struck with serious food poisoning. You will need a letter from the treating physician to confirm your health condition. If it's the lawyer who is sick, you must prove that they don't have an alternative lawyer to take their place.

Missing Witness

Lastly, a missing witness may also lead to a continuance, but there are a few things you need to prove first. First, you need to prove that you have done your best to locate the witness. This involves talking to their acquaintances, search public records, and talking to licensing authorities (especially for those who hold professional licenses). Secondly, you also need to prove that the missing witness has testimony crucial to your case (they can make or break your case). Thirdly, the court may deny your petition if it proves that you are responsible for the witness' disappearance.

As you can see, you don't have to proceed with your trial if your defense has been affected by forces outside your control. However, the court will require some convincing to grant a continuance, and the best person to make the request is a defense lawyer like Dunnigan & Messier P.C.