- A CD is NOT a dismissal of the charges. If the charges are Dismissed there is NO sentencing.
- A CD is NOT an expungement of the charges. NYS has NO expungement, it does NOT exist.
- A CD is NOT related to whether or not you have been convicted of a crime. You are considered convicted of a crime whether you plead guilty to a misdemeanor or are found guilty after a trial for a misdemeanor. Violations are considered offenses but are NOT classified as CRIMES. This is a source of endless confusion. Sometimes called Offenses and violations but "may or may not" be New York State crimes (misdemeanors and felonies) but are they "criminal" convictions. Remember to always consider to that state (New York) not to compare state to state.
- There is an Unconditional Discharge. You have NO conditions to discharge your obligation to the Court. These are rarely given.
- There is a term of jail (incarceration). Whether for a term of weekends, days, weeks, or months.
- There is a term of probation. You get a probation officer. You must submit to whatever they direct you to do or not do for a period of time. Misdemeanor probation is for three years.
- There is the CD (conditional discharge). I say “the” CD because there is only one type. You have certain (specific) conditions aka obligations to meet to satisfy the Court. The main condition is No new crimes (no new arrests) for a period of time. This is generally for one year. If you violate this main condition then you will be re-sentenced for the offense you plead guilty to, not the original charges. New conditions can also be imposed, such as drug/alcohol counseling, jail, and/or probation.
This is the actual statute: