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Juror who prompted calls for new Ghislaine Maxwell trial turns to lawyer who defended Anna Sorokin.
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With a conditional discharge, the judge sentences the defendant but does not send them to jail or place them on probation. The judge will establish conditions that the defendant must abide by during the conditional discharge period. As long as the defendant satisfies all the conditions and avoids any new arrests, the charges will be dismissed and sealed at the end of the conditional discharge term.
Some common conditions imposed on a conditional discharge include:
The judge has wide discretion in setting the precise terms and conditions based on the circumstances of the case. The goal is to have conditions aimed at rehabilitation rather than traditional forms of punishment like incarceration.
There are limits on the types of charges where a conditional discharge disposition is permitted in New York. It is not an option for every kind of criminal offense.
In general, a conditional discharge may be imposed for:
More serious violent felony charges like robbery, assault, rape, or sex crimes are typically not eligible for a conditional discharge plea.
The judge also has to decide that a conditional discharge would serve the interests of justice better than jail or probation in the particular case. They will look at all the circumstances like the details of the incident, the defendant’s criminal history, background, and personal situation when making this determination.
So a conditional discharge is never guaranteed – the judge has to agree it’s appropriate after reviewing all the specific facts. The prosecution can also oppose a conditional discharge if they feel strongly that jail or probation is warranted.
If the judge agrees to impose a conditional discharge sentence, the process will work as follows:
It is critically important for the defendant to completely understand the conditional discharge terms and comply with them fully. Depending on the type of violation, the consequences can be severe like serving the maximum jail sentence.
There are some clear benefits to a conditional discharge in cases where it’s permitted:
As you can see, a conditional discharge disposition requires a lot of responsibility on the defendant’s part. The pros and cons need to be weighed very carefully when considering whether to accept a conditional discharge plea offer.
If you’re seeking a conditional discharge to resolve your criminal charges, having an experienced New York criminal defense lawyer on your side is extremely helpful. Here’s how an attorney can assist:
While a conditional discharge can be a very favorable outcome in appropriate cases, it’s not guaranteed to be offered or approved. An experienced lawyer gives you the best chance at securing this disposition.
There are certain situations where a conditional discharge is very unlikely to be presented by the prosecution or approved by the judge:
The key is to consult with your criminal defense lawyer, who can review the charges and background details to advise if conditional discharge is viable or not. Don’t assume it will definitely be an option until your attorney thoroughly examines your case.
For defendants granted a conditional discharge on certain sex offense convictions, additional mandatory conditions apply under New York law.
These extra restrictions mandated by law include:
These added conditional discharge rules apply to convictions for offenses like rape, criminal sexual act, sexual abuse, possessing child pornography, and related charges under Articles 130, 235, and 263 of the New York Penal Law. The extra conditions aim to protect public safety and prevent re-offending.
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