What does it mean for a misdemeanor to be dismissed in NYC?

What does it mean for a misdemeanor to be dismissed in NYC?

There are many ways for a case to be resolved and enable you to walk away with no criminal record.  The case may be dismissed, dropped, or adjourned in contemplation of dismissal. While each of these outcomes has a slightly different meaning, each of them will mean you’re not going to jail and you will walk away without a criminal record..

Some of these outcomes can still have a few long-term consequences that you should know about and be ready for.

Adjournment in Contemplation of Dismissal (ACD)

In an ACD, your case is adjourned for six months to one year. During that time, as long as you meet certain conditions, your case will ultimately be dismissed and sealed and your fingerprints and arrest photo will be destroyed.

For many individuals, the only condition of an ACD will be that they don’t commit or get charged with an additional crime.

Some will have other conditions to follow. For example, some ACD’s can include, for example,  community service, payment of restitution, or participation in a drug program.  As long as one adheres to those conditions, the end result is still the same: no conviction, no record. You are not acknowledging guilt; you’re simply agreeing to give the government a few concessions in exchange for this resolution.

In this scenario, the charges remain on your record until they are dismissed and sealed. This might make securing or keeping employment difficult in the short run, but the problem will soon resolve itself.

Dismissed Charges

Dismissed charges mean that charges were filed but the judge or the prosecutor has determined either there is no longer a viable case or that the prosecutor has gone beyond certain legal time constraints that mandate dismissal.  Once the case is dismissed, your record is, in most circumstances, sealed.

Dropped Charges

Dropped charges happen before charges are formally filed. Getting arrested is not the same thing as getting charged. The DA’s office charges you. The police only hold you pending charges.

This happens when the DA recognizes that the case that law enforcement has brought to them is not strong enough to go forward.  This can sometimes be done if you and your criminal defense attorney can provide the prosecution with evidence early on that indicates the case should not move forward. You can greatly aid in this by being careful to exercise your 5th Amendment rights.  Meaning, don’t talk to the police when you are arrested.  Simply put: clam up. You don’t want to help the prosecutor by saying something that could hurt you in the end.

If you are arrested but never charged,  nothing goes on your public record at all and you have a clean slate.

Get help from an NYC criminal defense lawyer today.

If you are in need of assistance with a criminal case, call the Law Offices of Julie Rendelman today for a consultation on your misdemeanor charges.

See also:

Can a Victim Refuse to Press Charges in NYC?

What You Need to Know About Your 5th Amendment Rights\

How to Strengthen Your NYC Criminal Case