During or after arraignment in a local criminal court and before entry of a guilty plea or commencement of a trial, the court may, on motion of the people or the defendant and with the consent of the other party, or on the court’s own motion with the consent of both the people and the defendant, order that this action be what is called “adjourned in contemplation of dismissal.”
An adjournment in contemplation of dismissal is an adjournment of action without a date ordered, and with a view to ultimately dismiss the accusatory instrument. On issuing such an order, the court is required to release the defendant on their own recognizance. On application of the people, made at any time earlier than six months, or in the case of a family offense, one year, after issuing the order, the court is allowed to restore the case to the calendar on a determination that dismissal of the accusatory instrument wouldn’t further justice in the case, and the action must then proceed. If the case isn’t restored within that six month or one year period, the accusatory instrument is, at the expiration of either period, deemed to have been dismissed by the court.
In conjunction with an adjournment in the contemplation of dismissal, the court is allowed to issue a temporary order of protection that requires the defendant to observe certain conditions of conduct.
Where the local criminal court information charges a crime or a violation between spouses or between a parent and a child, or between members of the same family or household, the court may require as a condition that the defendant must participate in an educational program that addresses issues of spousal abuse and family violence.
The court is allowed to grant an adjournment in contemplation of dismissal on the condition that the defendant must participate in dispute resolution and afterward comply with any award or settlement resulting from it.
As a condition of an adjournment in contemplation of dismissal order, the court’s allowed to require the defendant to perform some services for a public or not-for-profit corporation, association, institution or agency. This condition may only be imposed when the defendant’s consented to the amount and conditions of the service. The court is not allowed to impose these conditions in excess of the length of the adjournment.
As a condition of an adjournment in contemplation of dismissal where the defendant’s been charged with an offense and the elements of the offense meet the criteria of an eligible offense and the person qualified as an eligible person, the court is allowed to require the defendant to participate in an education reform program.
As a condition of an adjournment in contemplation of dismissal where a defendant is under twenty-one years of age and is charged with a misdemeanor or misdemeanors, and also in which the record indicates that the consumption of alcohol by the defendant might’ve been a contributing factor, or a violation of the alcoholic beverage control law, the court is allowed to require the defendant to attend an alcohol awareness program established pursuant to the mental hygiene law in the state of New York.
Adjournment procedures can seem complicated, and oftentimes are, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t use the law to your benefit under the best practices available.
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