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Law Office of Michael D. Litman, PLLC Oct. 6, 2023

An Adjournment In Contemplation of Dismissal (ACD) Under NY Law

An adjournment in contemplation of dismissal (ACD) is one of the best outcomes that can be offered in a plea bargain, aside from a complete dismissal. If you are offered an ACD, you will be able to resolve the case without entering a guilty plea. For an ACD, the case is adjourned for six months (or one year if it is for possession of marijuana offense or a family offense). So long as you stay out of trouble for the six-month (or one-year) period, the case will be dismissed and sealed at the end of that period. What that means is that at the end of the relevant period, the case will be off your record, and you will have no criminal conviction as a result of that particular arrest. 

Criminal Procedure Law Section 170.55 explains: "An adjournment in contemplation of dismissal is an adjournment of the action without date ordered with a view to ultimate dismissal of the accusatory instrument in furtherance of justice."  

If you have been charged with a crime in or around Westchester County, New York, contact the Law Office of Michael D. Litman, PLLC to represent you and fight for the best possible outcome. We can petition the court, if circumstances warrant, for an adjournment in contemplation of dismissal or another plea bargain. We also proudly serve clients in the surrounding communities of White Plains, Harrison, and Yonkers. 

When Can You Get an Adjournment in Contemplation of Dismissal?

You may be able to get an ACD offer if you are charged with possession of a small amount of marijuana, and this is the first time you have been arrested.  

In situations where the charges are not based on marijuana possession, being offered an ACD will depend on the circumstances of the case, the level of the offense, your criminal history, your age, and the county in which the case is being prosecuted. 

Another circumstance where an ACD may be offered is when the District Attorney’s case is weak, or the alleged victim is not cooperative, which frequently happens in domestic violence cases. In these types of cases, you need to discuss with your attorney the merits of taking the ACD vs. pursuing the case to try to get a complete dismissal. 

A lot may also depend on your attitude. Are you willing to move forward in a new direction and not repeat the mistakes that got you in trouble this time? Your defense attorney may need to submit mitigation information about you to the DA's office and/or the Court, in order to get an ACD.

Role of Your Defense Attorney

As with any plea bargain, your criminal defense attorney will play a pivotal role in securing an ACD for you. Your attorney can negotiate with prosecutors, convey your side of the story, and present options for a plea bargain, including an adjournment in contemplation of dismissal. If granted, an ACD is an agreement between you, the District Attorney, and the court to have your case rescheduled with the intention of dismissing it. 

Potential Problems With an ACD

The success or failure of an ACD really depends upon you. You need to abide by all its conditions, stay out of trouble, and even seek counseling or treatment to get your life back on track. Even so, there are some facts you need to consider. 

While your case will ultimately be dismissed and sealed when you are given an ACD (provided that you comply with the terms of the ACD), during the period prior to the dismissal, the original charges are still open. 

That means that anyone running a background check, for employment or otherwise, will be able to see the open charges. Another problem with an ACD is that it may be restored to the original charges if you get arrested again, especially if the new charges are in the same jurisdiction or are the same type of offense. 

The Role of Your Attorney

Your defense attorney will need to move for an ACD just as he or she would in arguing for lesser or dropped charges or for any type of plea bargain. The circumstances must be right, and you as the defendant must be cooperative in complying with the terms the judge imposes as part of the ACD. Terms can include community service, counseling, treatment for substance abuse, drug testing, anger management classes, and/or other measures. 

Trusted Legal Defense

Securing an Adjournment in Contemplation of Dismissal (ACD) often hinges on the specific circumstances of your case, your criminal history, and your willingness to make positive changes. A strong Westchester criminal defense attorney plays a crucial role, advocating for an ACD and ensuring compliance with the judge's terms. While an ACD ultimately leads to dismissal, it's vital to note that during this period, the original charges are still visible on background checks, potentially impacting your future.  

If you are facing a criminal charge in or around Westchester County, New York, reach out to us immediately at the Law Office of Michael D. Litman, PLLC. Our legal team will protect you and your rights and strive for the best possible outcome, including working toward an adjournment in contemplation of dismissal if possible. 


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