In New York, there are three possible ways to resolve criminal charges: dismissal, plea bargain, and trial. Below is an overview of these methods.
When a judge dismisses a defendant’s criminal charges, he or she is no longer at risk of being convicted and punished. There are several reasons that criminal charges are dismissed, including:
- Violation of a defendant’s right to a speedy trial
- When double jeopardy prevents prosecution
- When misdemeanor charges are based on hearsay
- When a grand jury indictment is found to be defective
- When dismissal is determined to be in the interest of justice
- When it is determined that a case can’t be proved beyond a reasonable doubt
A plea bargain is an agreement between a defendant, District Attorney, and the court about how a case will be resolved. Examples of common plea bargains include:
- An agreement that the defendant will be convicted of a less serious offense than if he or she were found guilty at trial.
- An agreement that the court will sentence a defendant to no jail time when a jail sentence would be possible, likely, or mandatory following a conviction at trial.
- A conditional plea in which a minor conviction replaces a serious conviction. Conditions typically agreed to by defendants include community service, restitution, and rehabilitative treatment.
- Adjournment in contemplation of dismissal.
A defendant charged with a crime has the right to a trial. However, a criminal trial is a complex legal proceeding, and it can be difficult to predict how a jury or judge will rule. Therefore, it is often desirable to avoid trial if there are other options available.
At trial, a judge or jury decides whether admitted evidence proves a defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. If the admitted evidence doesn’t prove the defendant guilty, then he or she is acquitted of all charges. However, if a defendant is convicted, the court is required to impose a sentence, which may include jail or prison time.
As noted above, trial is often the option of last resort, as the outcome of a trial is never certain. Even when the evidence strongly favors a defendant, acquittal is not guaranteed. Therefore, criminal defendants should usually only choose this option if they are unable to negotiate a satisfactory plea bargain.
New York Criminal Defense Attorneys
If you’ve been charged with a crime in New York, it’s imperative that you engage the services of an experienced criminal defense attorney in order to achieve the best possible outcome in your criminal case. At Barket Epstein, our experienced New York criminal defense attorneys will ensure that you are fully apprised of your legal rights and provided with the most effective defense possible. Please contact one of our experienced criminal defense attorneys today for a consultation.