If you’ve been arrested it’s because someone is accusing you of committing a criminal act of some kind. Your accuser could be anyone from a police officer, detective, business owner or a civilian/witness. The majority of people charged with a crime are convicted. Although the worst outcome is a conviction in most cases, the best case scenario would be a dismissal. Dismissals can be negotiated in a lot of circumstances, or result from an acquittal. Acquittals occur when a judgement is made that a person is not guilty. In New York, for example, an acquittal can be made by a judge or a jury. A criminal defense attorney can fight for a dismissal by applying for an adjournment in contemplation of dismissal (ACD). An ACD is not usually an option available in most cases but it might be possible depending upon facts and circumstances involved in your case.
When an attorney applies for an ACD it could mean that your case is adjourned or rescheduled for a different date when it would be dismissed so long as certain conditions are met. If denied though, the prosecution would continue. In general terms, an ACD is an agreement between you and the District Attorney that your case will be rescheduled with the intention of dismissing it if you can meet conditions outlined in the agreement.
Different states have slightly varying procedures involving ACD’s. For example, while New York calls it an ACD, New Jersey has what’s called a Conditional Discharge.
The application for an ACD is made by you attorney and can also be done after a guilty plea but prior to sentencing. If the judge in your criminal court accepts the application, you could be held responsible for all imposed conditions which could include community service, drug treatment, drug testing, counseling, monitoring, psychiatric treatment, anger management classes, restitution, or any other special conditions that the court and/or District Attorney has negotiated with your attorney. Following this, you may also have to return to court periodically to show how you are fully compliant with the conditions outlined in your agreement with the court.
As noted, an ACD, if granted, can result in a dismissal. This makes ACDs very sought after. The prosecutor in your case is not under any obligation to offer an ACD and could possibly suffer if he or she does offer the ACD in a situation that does not warrant it from the prosecutor’s point of view. Simply put, offering an ACD is not always in the best interest of the prosecutor.
Whether or not an ACD is offered by a prosecutor will largely depend upon the facts and circumstances surrounding your case. Because a criminal case carries the threat of conviction and the consequences of having a pending criminal charge, you should contact an attorney to get a realistic understanding of whether an ACD is possible in your case. For some people it is, but for others, it is not. There are many variables and every case is somewhat unique in its specific circumstances. Consulting with a qualified Criminal Defense Attorney such as the lawyers at The Frank Law Firm is advised.
While the wait for your court date can feel like forever, once you’re in court things move pretty quickly. Let’s say your attorney is not able to get an ACD in your case… he or she should be prepared to bring up certain, specific items/facts to the judge to keep your rights intact.
From there, your case could be scheduled for further proceedings or for your trial. The main thing is don’t go to court alone. Contact us at 516-246-5577 before your court date to discuss the facts and circumstances of your case.
Contact us today for an evaluation. We’re licensed to practice in New York, New Jersey and Florida know the sometimes unique laws in each state and the opportunities that exist.