Adjournment in Contemplation of Dismissal
Hudson Valley Criminal Defense Attorneys Seeking the Most Favorable Outcome for Your Misdemeanor Arrest
If you have been arrested for a misdemeanor offense, your attorney may be able to get you a favorable outcome in many different ways, such as having the misdemeanor reduced to a violation, getting probation, or going to trial and securing a not guilty verdict. One of the best outcomes of all is Adjournment in Contemplation of Dismissal, commonly referred to as ACD or ACOD. Read on to learn more about ACD, what it is and when it is available, and how a New York criminal defense attorney at Dupée & Monroe in Goshen can help you achieve the benefits of an ACD.
Facts about ACD
As the name implies, when the court grants an Adjournment in Contemplation of Dismissal, the judge adjourns your case or takes it off the calendar for a period of six months, or in some instances one year (family offenses, marijuana possession), and you are released on your own recognizance. If during that time you don’t have any other encounters with the law and otherwise comply with the terms of the ACD, then at the end of the period, the accusation against you is dismissed. If you do violate the terms of the ACD during the allotted time frame, the case is restored against you and put back on the court’s calendar.
An ACD is not an admission of guilt and does not put you under any sort of legal disability whatsoever. Your record is sealed. Basically, in the eyes of the state it is as though your arrest never happened.
The time to request an ACD is at your arraignment or any time after that, but before the entry of a guilty plea or the start of trial. An ACD can be requested by the defendant, the prosecutor or even the judge, and can be granted as long as all parties agree or consent to it.
Common Conditions of an ACD
Depending upon the nature of the charge against you, there are many conditions the court will want to put in place before granting an ACD. For instance, if you are charged with a misdemeanor family offense such as disorderly conduct or harassment, the court may issue a temporary order of protection or require you to participate in an educational program on spousal abuse and family violence. The judge may also require you to participate in dispute resolution or an education reform program, or to perform community service for up to the length of the adjournment period. Individuals under 21 charged with misdemeanors other than DWI where alcohol was a factor may be asked to attend an alcohol awareness program.
While these conditions cannot be imposed on you without your consent, your refusal to submit to them may mean that you will not be given an ACD. Your lawyer can negotiate the terms of your ACD with the prosecutor or judge so that the conditions imposed are fair and reasonable.
When is ACD not Available?
ACD is only available for misdemeanors and not felonies. Additionally, if you are charged with a violation of most New York Vehicle and Traffic Laws or local laws, rules or ordinances related to operation of a motor vehicle, you cannot get an ACD. Also, if you are the holder of a CDL or commercial learner’s permit, or committed the offense in a commercial vehicle, you will be deemed ineligible for ACD. Having a criminal history apart from the current offense, including a prior ACD, can also keep you from getting an ACD.
Is ACD Always the Best Result?
In most instances, ACD is an extremely favorable outcome and one that should be actively sought whenever available. Some people may prefer to go to trial to be vindicated with a not guilty verdict, but remember that an ACD is not in any way an admission of guilt, and the outcome of a trial is never certain. For those who do not want to wait six months or a year to have their case dismissed, remember that if you choose to go to trial, it will likely be several months before your case is concluded anyway.
It is worth considering the conditions imposed during the duration of the ACD, and whether these conditions would be overly burdensome to you. Remember that your attorney may be able to negotiate the terms of the ACD, but if you cannot live under the conditions, then you may prefer to risk a trial instead. Also, although an ACD is not a legal disability or admission of guilt in any way, some employers and even some state licensing boards do not understand this, and they may view your ACD as some sort of guilty plea, which it is not.
Finally, it should be stressed that an ACD is not a dismissal on the merits but rather an administrative dismissal. This distinction can have important implications for individuals looking to pursue a civil rights case against the arresting authorities. Be sure to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney who understands all these key issues and can advise you appropriately.
Talk to an Experienced and Dedicated Hudson Valley Criminal Defense Attorney about ACD for Your Misdemeanor Arrest
If you have been arrested and charged with a misdemeanor offense in Orange County or the mid-Hudson Valley, call Dupée & Monroe in Goshen at 845-294-8900 to speak with an experienced and dedicated New York criminal defense attorney about the possibility of an ACD or other options for a positive outcome in your case.