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

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.

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Attorney answers 6


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 or contact me either by phone at 718-208-6094 or via email at This answer is only for informational purposes and is not meant as legal advice.


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 attorney-client relationship. Be mindful, that answers are limited by the limited facts presented by the questioner and are not meant to take the place of competent legal advice by an attorney fully informed of all the facts surrounding your case. However, be aware that nothing posted in a public forum such as this can be deemed confidential or privileged communication. For a privileged private consultation, contact me at 212-385-8600 or via my website


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 here are not to be taken as legal advice, and no attorney-client relationship been formed. Please feel free to call me for a free consultation if you are interested in retaining counsel for your case.

C. C. Abbott

C. C. Abbott


I agree with Attorney Berliner. Immigration law treats criminal adjudications differently than criminal law. Thus, it is advisable that you be weary of any criminal case plea - no matter the criminal sentencing provisions - as it can have greater and very serious immigration consequences. Good luck.


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


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
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. Feel free to check out my web site and contact me at (212) 385-8015 or via email at The above answer is for informational purposes only and not meant as legal advice.



Thanks Eric. I think i have my answer on the plea by mail element. Page 36.


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.


Tom Kenniff