Saturday, August 9, 2014

Ithaca City Court: New Policy on Community Service Hours and ACDs

I'm not a big fan of community service hours
Working for free not really inspired me or my clients.

New judges and new Ithaca City Court policy are reining the day lately. We now have a full time DWI judge, the Honorable Scott A. Miller and another new judge, the Honorable Seth Peacock taking up the slack. It is a busy court and I'm all ears when I hear the judges announcing new procedures or policy that could affect me or my client's legal matters.

Community Service Hours Must be Done Before ACDs are GRANTED

I was in court on Friday with three criminal cases in total: two DWIs (one for final sentencing and one for arraignment), and a Petit Larceny case. I had negotiated on behalf of my P.L. client for an ACD with some community service. BTW a great disposition. At which point the judge stopped me and stated the new Ithaca City Court policy.

The ACD (adjournment in contemplation of dismissal) of 6 months will not begin to run (the time period) UNTIL the community service hours were completed by my client. ACDs are great because the charge, in this case a criminal misdemeanor would be completely DISMISSED. So No criminal record, No criminal history, Nada, Zip, Nothing.

This is under NYS section 170.55

§ 170.55 Adjournment in contemplation of dismissal. 1. Upon or after arraignment in a local criminal court upon an information, a simplified information, a prosecutor's information or a misdemeanor complaint, and before entry of a plea of guilty thereto or commencement of a trial thereof, the court may, upon motion of the people or the defendant and with the consent of the other party, or upon the court's own motion with the consent of both the people and the defendant, order that the action be "adjourned in contemplation of dismissal," as prescribed in subdivision two. 2. 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. Upon issuing such an order, the court must release the defendant on his own recognizance. 

Even the arrest in these cases is considered a NULLITY under the law. Null and void.

NEW POLICY: Pay Before Not After

But with the new City Court policy, this was going to mean that whatever time it took to complete this obligation would then be added to the six months. This would hang over their head UNTIL the time line completely ran. My argument, my client had a summer internship far, far away and it would not be fair that this would now have to be an additional obligation. BTW I had shown proof of repayment to the store (this is called RESTITUTION).

The judge waived the Community Service, the ACD of six months began immediately.

My disclaimer: I am not this successful on all my cases, no attorney is successful on all their cases. We do our best with the cards we are dealt or as in criminal defense cases the facts as they are. Remember Every Case must be analyzed, evaluated, and weighed on a case by case basis.

Always consult with an attorney about any criminal or non-criminal charges you have pending to discuss your options and/or defenses.

I am certified in Field Sobriety and Breath Alcohol Testing, and an active member of the National College of DUI Defense (NCDD). My online materials include over 500 blog posts, dozens of articles, and over 500 informative videos on my youtube channel.

I have co-authored Strategies for Defending DWI Cases in New York, in both 2011 and 2013. These are West Thomson legal manuals on New York State DWI defense, and focus on the best practices for other lawyers handling a New York DWI case. I was selected by Super Lawyers as a Upstate New York 2013 Rising Star in DWI/DUI Defense based on my experience, contributions, and professional standing.