CAN I PLEAD TO A LESSER CHARGE THAN PETIT LARCENY?

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CAN I PLEAD TO A LESSER CHARGE THAN PETIT LARCENY?

I KNOW YOU CAN PLEAD TO A LESSER CHARGE FOR A TRAFFICE INFRACTION, BUT CAN YOU PLEAD TO A LESSER CHARGE THAN A MISDEMEANOR ESPECIALLY IF YOU HAVE A PERFECT RECORD?

Asked on April 18, 2009 under Criminal Law, New York

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

If the police or prosecutor would be willing to lower the charges to a minor offense that is not considered a misdemeanor, provided you plead guilty, sure. But it's hard to convince them to do that yourself, and anything you do say in attempting to talk your way down can be used against you later if it does get to trial. I've seen guys talk their way into more serious charges while trying to get themselves out of lesser charges,

However, there may be an even better alternative. In first offense cases it is sometimes possible to arrange for an ACD -- an Automatic Conditional Discharge. Under an ACD the charges remain in place but you are conditionally discharged without any plea. If your record is clean and no further charges are brought against you for a period of time, the current charges are dropped.

You may not have much money but this is potentially so important to you and your future capacity to earn a living and qualify for various jobs and professions that I'd beg or borrow the money for a lawyer if I were you. If it is as simple as you say it will not be all that expensive, and a lawyer is far more likely to be able to arrange an ACD than you.

One of the factors prosecutors consider when agreeing to an ACD is that where the defendant has a lawyer and will actually be able to defend himself, by agreeing to the ACD they will not have to spend the time and money to prosecute you and can save their resources for other cases. If they sense you'll plead guilty anyway, or defend yourself (which almost always means you'll be found guilty) that element of prosecutorial savings is off the table.


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