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 Brooklynlaw.net or contact me either by phone at 718-208-6094 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.
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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.
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.
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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 Eric@RothsteinLawNY.com. The above answer is for informational purposes only and not meant as legal advice.
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.