If i plead guilty by mail for a public urination charge will this go on a criminal record.

Asked about 3 years ago - New York, NY

I cannot attend the summons date as I am out of the country. I went to the court to tell them this and they gave me a Guilty Plea by Mail form.
I can plead guilty and pay a $50 fine but I do not want a criminal record.
I am from outside the US on an L1 visa and may want to apply for a green card in the future.
Do not want this to affect that process.

Attorney answers (6)

  1. 1

    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . If you are charged under health code section 153.09 it is an unclassified misdemeanor crime and pleading guilty would give you a permanent criminal record. Best to consult with an attorney since you have a lot at stake.

    All answers are for information purposes only. Answering this question or any future questions does not form any... more
  2. 1

    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . Since you have been charged under the New York City Administrative Code, the offense is considered a violation and not a crime. That means you will not have a criminal record if you plead guilty.

    As far as immigration is concerned, ICE can be very particular when granting visas, etc. You probably will have to advise ICE that you were given a summons for public urination and pled guilty to the charge. Whether that prevents you from getting a visa is really up to ICE.

    One option that no one else addressed is hiring an attorney to appear in court for you. The attorney will prepare an affidavit stating that you live in another country and are not able to appear in court to answer the summons. You sign the affidavit and get it notarized and the attorney can ask the judge to grant either a straight dismissal or an "adjournment in contemplation of dismissal," also called an "ACD," which means that the charge will be dismissed after six months.

    I have successfully handled summonses many times for people who live out of state or out of the country. It will be more expensive that pleading guilty, but there's a very strong chance of getting a dismissal.

    I have been practicing criminal law for over 20 years and am happy to help you understand the law, but my comments... more
  3. 1

    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . This should not affect your immigration although you should consult with an immigration attorney.

  4. Answered . You should google the statute or code number listed on the violation. The statute should state if the activity is considered a violation or a misdemeanor. If it is a misdemeanor you might want to hire counsel to work towards a non-criminal disposition. Good luck

    I have been a criminal defense attorney in New York for over 20 years. Feel free to view my website at... more
  5. Answered . Despite what a clerk told you, Judges don't usually accept pleas my mail on these type of cases. I have handled these cases for many Avvo users and have been able to resolve the cases without the clients getting criminal records and without the clients having to appear in court.

    I am a former federal and State prosecutor and have been doing criminal defense work for over 15 years.

    Eric Rothstein
    11 Park Place, Suite 1801
    New York, New York 10007
    Phone: 212-385-8015
    Email: Eric@RothsteinLawNY.com
    Free consultations by phone or in person

    I am a former federal and State prosecutor and now handle criminal defense and personal injury/civil rights cases.... more
  6. Answered . In my experience, the Criminal Court at 346 Broadway will not accept a plea by mail but will allow an attorney to appear on your behalf and dispose of the matter for you. I have done this for many clients who cannot appear personally.

    Best,

    Tom Kenniff
    212-274-0090

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