An adjournment in contemplation of dismissal, commonly referred to as an ACD, is a sentence typically offered to a defendant when the crime charged is a misdemeanor and the defendant has no prior record. In sum, the case is put on hold for a specified amount of time (generally six months) and if the defendant has stayed out of trouble throughout that time period, the charges are dismissed. Under New York State law an ACD is not considered a criminal conviction nor involves a guilty plea.
From an immigration standpoint, the Immigration & Nationality Act defines a conviction as: The term “conviction” means, with respect to an alien, a formal judgment of guilt of the alien entered by a court or, if adjudication of guilt has been withheld, where- (i) a judge or jury has found the alien guilty or the alien has entered a plea of guilty or nolo contendere or has admitted sufficient facts to warrant a finding of guilt, and (ii) the judge has ordered some form of punishment, penalty, or restraint on the alien’s liberty to be imposed.
New York criminal law, however, states: An adjournment in contemplation of dismissal is an adjournment of the action without date ordered with a view to ultimate dismissal of the accusatory instrument in furtherance of justice … The granting of an adjournment in contemplation of dismissal shall not be deemed to be a conviction or an admission of guilt …
Therefore, according to New York State law, an ACD is not a criminal conviction, does not involve a finding or admission of guilt, and does not result in a criminal record. Consequently, an ACD does not constitute a conviction for immigration purposes.
If you have had difficulties crossing the border due to an ACD and would like more information, please schedule a consultation with one of our immigration attorneys today!