In most people’s minds, there are only really four ways a case can end: taking a plea deal, being convicted at trial, winning at trial, or having your case dismissed. However, in New York State, there is at least one other way your case might end: an adjournment in contemplation of dismissal, also known as an ACD or ACOD. But what exactly does it mean to get an ACD, and how might it be beneficial to you?
Explaining the ACD
An ACD can occur whenever someone is accused of a criminal violation or misdemeanor. As the name suggests, an ACD is when the judge in your case decides to adjourn it for a period of up to six months (or one year in the case of marijuana violations). If the judge does not return the case to the docket within that period of time, it is dismissed, along with any charges that were brought against you. An ACD must typically be agreed to by the prosecutor and the judge before it can go forward.
What Happens When I Get an ACD?
If your case is adjourned in contemplation of dismissal, the only requirement you are certain to have is to not be arrested on another offense during the period of the ACD. However, a judge may impose additional requirements on people with an ACD, similar to requirements imposed on people who have been given probation. For example, it is reasonably common for people accused of drug offenses to be assigned mandatory rehab, while those accused of low-level assault may be instructed to attend anger management courses.
So long as you avoid being rearrested during the time of your ACD and follow any additional requirements imposed by the judge, your case will be dismissed. This means you do not have a criminal record, and do not need to report a criminal conviction to potential employers, or others who might ask about your criminal history. This means it will have a minimal impact on your ability to seek employment or pursue an education in the future.
What is the Downside of an ACD?
First, ACDs are not always offered by prosecutors, and they are not available to anyone who has been accused of a felony. Second, if you are rearrested during the period of the ACD, your case could be returned to the docket, and you will not likely be able to get an ACD again. This is true even if your rearrest ultimately results in no criminal charges. Finally, your ACD can be revoked if you fail to meet any court-imposed conditions, such as failing to attend rehab for a drug-related ACD. However, if you want the best possible outcome for your case, you should speak to a criminal defense lawyer who can help you defend your rights.
If you or someone you know has been arrested for a criminal offense, you will need legal counsel to help you preserve your rights and work to get the best possible outcome for your matter. A New York criminal defense lawyer, who is experienced in handling criminal cases of all sorts, can advise you of your legal rights and will fight for your best interests in court. If you or your loved one has been arrested, contact the Suffolk County criminal defense attorneys at McGuire, Peláez and Bennett at (631) 348-1702.