I went to court on 4/5/16 for petit theft of goods from Walmart totaling $29. The free lawyer given to me asked the judge for an ACD and the judge agreed then told me to come back 5/6/16. I was given a BAR counsel affidavit to fill out. What can I expect at this new court date? I'm 19, in Auburn NY for college and this is my first offense. I also live in New York City.
Your lawyer would know the answer, but it seems that you will be getting the ACD
Any response I provide is meant as a general view on the subject and is no way intended to be specific legal advice to any individual. If you wish specific advice, you should hire and consult with an attorney of your choosing.
The Judge is going to decide if you are entitled to a public defender at taxpayer expense.
I am a former federal and State prosecutor and have been handling criminal defense and personal injury cases for over 18 years. The above answer, and any follow up comments or emails, is for informational purposes only and not meant as legal advice.
Dear Forlorn in Auburn, since you appeared before Judge McKeon Friday, perhaps this has been resolved, but I'll answer regardless in case it helps others.
In New York State, a defendant charged with a crime (misdemeanor or felony) is entitled to legal counsel at all stages of a criminal proceeding. Indigent (poor) defendants are eligible for an attorney paid by the state. Due to a relatively recent legal holding, attorneys are assigned for the purpose of arraignment, but may only continue to be your attorney if you qualify as poor.
Counties that don't have public defender offices, including the county in which I practice (Tompkins) and my neighboring county of Cayuga (where Auburn City Court is located), use an on-call assignment rotation, and an office of assigned counsel, which means you can be assigned to an attorney in private practice to represent you. However, in order to qualify you must fill out an application, which usually includes an affidavit that addresses household income, family size, and assets.
Optimally, you would complete the application/affidavit before you return to court. Your initial "free lawyer" (state-reimbursed) would then continue as your legal counsel. You may of course always hire your own private attorney, whether or not you qualify as "indigent", though you can't "choose" a specific attorney to be your state-reimbursed legal counsel.
For many New York City residents who are charged with crimes while visiting upstate New York, it may be more cost effective to just hire local legal counsel, as you may not have to return to Auburn. Under certain circumstances, given certain factors (whether the District Attorney would agree to a reduction to a non-criminal violation level offense or make an application for an Adjournment in Contemplation for Dismissal), you may be permitted to plea by affidavit, and/or not have to appear at all.
My answer here does not constitute legal advice. This is free. Legal advice you have to pay for.
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