Legal Question in Civil Litigation in New York

What is an ACD?

Hi, I'm an NYU student doing research about the prevalence of marijuana. I have a couple of questions...first of all, my boyfriend was arrested in New York City for possession of marijuana, but he was released on something that I believe was called an ACD, after he spent almost a day in jail. They said that if nothing would happen if he didn't get arrested for six months. First of all, what does ACD stand for? Is it specifically about marijuana possession? Unfortunately, he was arrested again in Arizona within the six-month period on charges of marijuana possession and minor in possession of alcohol--but he thinks he will get off on the possession charge, because it wasn't his, he was just there. What usually happens if the person is arrested again within the six-month period? What if the arrest is in another state? Does it make a difference if the arrest is on charges of possession or not? Is the probationary period always six months? If not, how is the probationary period determined? And finally, what is most likely to happen to my boyfriend?

Sorry this is so long...if it's too long to answer, I'd appreciate if you let me know, so I don't wait.

THANKS SO MUCH!!!!

Asked on 3/31/03, 7:55 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

John Friedman Law Office of John K. Friedman
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Re: What is an ACD?

"ACD" stands for Adjournment in Contemplation of Dismissal and you've essentially covered its definition: for the specified period (in your boyfriend's case, 6 months), so long as there are no subsequent arrests for anything followed by a conviction, the original arrest will be dismissed. Essentially it's like this: you've been good until now, if you stay good for another 6 months the court will dismiss the charge. If however an arrest within the ACD period is followed by a conviction on the charges leading to the second arrest then the original charge that was initially adjourned (ACD'd) is reinstated as a conviction and the maximum penalty is typically handed down.

This situation is complicated by the fact that the second arrest was in another jurisdiction. The arrest itself is not enough to cause the ACD to morph into a conviction on the initial charge (as the Constitution demands that we are all innocent until proven guilty). But a conviction on the Arizona charges - esp. the possession charge - if discovered by the NY court will likely result in an arrest warrant for your boyfriend.

Which raises the issue of whether the original jurisdiction, NY, will find out about an Arizona conviction. Perhaps. Everything is computerized these days. But you can take heart in the fact that government agencies are notoriously inefficient, so maybe they (NY) won't find out. But putting your money on that, so to speak, is of course risky.

The best bet for your boyfriend is to persue an acquital in Arizona or even an ACD on the charges. But the situation is dicey and I wish you both the best.

John Friedman

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3/31/03, 8:07 pm

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