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Drug Treatment Court, Annual Report 2003

This report profiles the population and achievements of the New York City Criminal Court (Criminal Court) Drug Treatment Court Initiative, created in 1998 with the opening of the Manhattan Treatment Court. The Drug Court Initiative has been developed to make treatment available to non-violent, substance-abusing offenders as an alternative to incarceration and in the process reduce recidivism and improve public safety.

Criminal Court’s Drug Treatment Courts operate under the deferred sentencing model and participants must plead guilty to an offense prior to admission to the program. The plea agreement includes the specific sentence alternative that the Court will impose in the event of a failure to complete treatment. This, and other factors including the excellent judges, clinical and court staff, allows the Drug Court Initiative to maintain high retention and graduation rates. Along with these significant success rates, referrals to treatment court continue to increase.

Download the full report.

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Plea by Mail Program

Section 10-125 (2b) - “Consumption of Alcohol on Streets Prohibited” ( also known as “Open Container Violation” or “Consumption of Alcohol in Public”)

Effective July 1, 2004 individuals who receive a Criminal Court Summons citing a violation of Section 10-125 (2b) of the N.Y.C. Administrative Code - “Consumption of Alcohol on Streets Prohibited” ( also known as “Open Container Violation” or “Consumption of Alcohol in Public”) are eligible to plead guilty and pay a $25 fine by mail. This program is available to persons charged with this petty offense only, and only if no other summonses are issued to the individual at the same time.

In order to plead guilty by mail you must send the following:

  • the plea form, completed and signed
  • the summons you received
  • check or money order for $25 made payable to NYC Criminal Court (DO NOT SEND CASH) with the summons number written on the payment
  • The above items must be mailed within 10 days of the date that the summons was issued, to:
    N.Y.C. Criminal Court
    P.O. Box 555
    New York, NY 10013-0555

If you plead guilty by mail, you do not need to appear in Court.

To participate download and complete the form.

 


 

Section 16-118 - “Public Urination”

Effective July 1, 2004 individuals who receive a Criminal Court Summons citing a violation of Section 16-118 of the N.Y.C. Administrative Code - “Section 16-118 - Public Urination” are eligible to plead guilty and pay a $50 fine by mail. This program is available to persons charged with this petty offense only, and only if no other summonses are issued to the individual at the same time.

In order to plead guilty by mail you must send the following:

  • the plea form, completed and signed
  • the summons you received
  • check or money order for $50 made payable to NYC Criminal Court (DO NOT SEND CASH) with the summons number written on the payment
  • The above items must be mailed within 10 days of the date that the summons was issued, to:
    N.Y.C. Criminal Court
    P.O. Box 555
    New York, NY 10013-0555

If you plead guilty by mail, you do not need to appear in Court.

To participate download and complete the form.

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Children's Centers

In New York County and Kings County Criminal Courts, parents who have business with the Court may leave their children in the Children's Center. The Children's Centers are operated by Victim Services. The New York County (Manhattan) Children's Center is located at 111 Centre Street, New York, NY and the Kings County (Brooklyn) Children's Center is located at 120 Schermerhorn Street, Brooklyn, NY.

The Children's Centers provide a comfortable and enjoyable place for children to wait for their parents to finish their business with the Court. Visiting children range in age from infants to six years old. The children play with toys, puzzles, blocks, engage in arts & crafts and paint pictures. The children also may listen to a story and exercise. The Children's Center staff also provide a snack for the children.

To register a child with the Children's Center, the parent or guardian must complete a registration form. The person who registers the child is the only person who may sign out the child. The registration form includes the expected location in the courthouse of the parent or guardian. If for any reason, the parent or guardian's location in the courthouse changes, the Children's Center staff must be notified. Each parent or guardian receives a list of the rules and regulations, which are available in both English and Spanish.

The Children's Center staff also links the families to local day-care programs and provides information on food stamps, home safety, and parenting skills. The Children's Centers are open 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday except holidays. The Children's Centers are closed each day from 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm.

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Court Dispute Referral Centers Closed

As of close of business May 27, 2011, the Court Dispute Referral Centers (CDRC) were permanently closed in the following locations:

Kings County Criminal Court (120 Schermerhorn St)
New York County Criminal Court (346 Broadway)
Queens County Criminal Court (125-01 Queens Boulevard)

Please refer to the linked resource sheets above for further information.

PLEASE NOTE: The Community Dispute Resolution Centers (which also have the acronym "CDRC") remain open for referrals to mediation.

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Domestic Violence

You Don't Have to Face It Alone
What protection do the courts offer to victims of domestic violence? It is against the law for another person to abuse you. If you have been physically attacked or threatened by a person with whom you have a relationship, you can seek help from the courts. In New York City, some domestic violence cases can go to both Criminal Court and Family Court, while others can go only to Criminal Court. The following people can take their cases to either or both courts:

  • People who are legally married or used to be married to each other (this category does not include "common law" relationships or gay and lesbian relationships);
  • People who have a child in common;
  • People who are related by blood or adoption. If you do not fit into one of these categories, you must go to Criminal Court.
Orders of Protection
Victims of domestic violence are often told to obtain an order of protection. What is it? An order of protection is issued by a judge as part of a court case. It requires an abuser to do or not do certain things, such as stay away from your home, school and job. It can also require an abuser not to assault, threaten or harass you. The order may extend to other members of your family, including your children. An order of protection may be issued whether or not the abuser lives with you. If appropriate, an order of protection need not exclude the abuser from the home. Where an abuser is excluded from the home, an order of protection may provide for visitation rights with the children.

Both Criminal Court and Family Court can issue orders of protection. It is a crime to violate an order of protection no matter which court issues it. The police will arrest a person who violates either a Family Court or Criminal Court order of protection. What is the difference between Criminal Court and Family Court?

Criminal Court
The purpose of Criminal Court is to determine whether a person has committed a crime. If found guilty, an abuser (called the defendant) can be punished and may have a criminal record. Cases in Criminal Court are prosecuted by the District Attorney. The District Attorney, not the victim, decides if there is enough evidence for the case to proceed. The victim is not a party to the action. Rather, the victim is a witness for the prosecution. The court may issue an order of protection as part of the ongoing action and as part of a final disposition.

Family Court
Family Court is a civil court. In a family offense proceeding, the court is concerned with stopping abusive conduct occurring within a relationship. The primary way this is accomplished is by the court issuing an order of protection. In addition, the court may arrange for counseling and other services. The victim (called the petitioner) begins a case in Family Court. The abuser (called the respondent) will not receive a criminal record from a Family Court proceeding. The Family Court may issue an order of protection while the case proceeds and as a part of the final resolution of the case. If the respondent violates the order of protection, the Family Court judge may punish him or her, including sending the respondent to jail, or the matter may be prosecuted in Criminal Court. The Family Court can also resolve living arrangement issues such as custody and child support. [continued below]

How does a domestic violence case begin in Criminal Court?
Criminal Court cases start in one of two ways. The primary way is if the police arrest the abuser (called the defendant). After arrest, the defendant will generally be arraigned within 24 hours. Arraignment is the stage in a criminal proceeding when the defendant first appears in court and learns what crimes he or she is charged with. The judge will also determine whether to release the defendant or set bail and whether to issue an order of protection. A victim will not automatically be notified if the defendant is released or held on bail. For information about the case, call the District Attorney's office in the county where the defendant was arrested (see listed telephone numbers). Even after the arrest of the defendant, the victim may still choose, under certain circumstances, to have the case transferred to Family Court or may choose to start a Family Court case in addition to the Criminal Court case. The District Attorney's office and the court will provide instructions on these options. After arraignment, unless the defendant pleads guilty or the charges are dismissed, the case will be adjourned until another date, usually five or more days later. If an order of protection is issued at the arraignment, it will generally be valid only until the next court date. A new order of protection must be requested on each adjourned date. The case will be assigned to a bureau or a particular prosecutor (called an Assistant District Attorney). To find out which bureau or Assistant District Attorney has your case, call the District Attorney's office in the county where the defendant was arrested (see listed telephone numbers). You will also receive a phone call or letter from the District Attorney's office about your case. It is very important that you respond to any letter or phone call from the prosecutor. Your input is essential for the prosecutor to decide how to proceed on the case. Although the Assistant District Attorney will need information from you and may want to meet with you in his or her office, you will probably not have to appear in court unless there is a trial. However, Criminal Court is open to the public and you are free to attend and bring someone else with you if you wish.

The second way a case can start in Criminal Court is through the Court Dispute Referral Center (CDRC). The CDRC reviews situations where there has been no arrest, but a victim believes a crime was committed and wants to start a case against the abuser. The victim must first report the incident of abuse to the police and obtain a complaint report number. A CDRC screener will then listen to your information. The screener will discuss with you your options, including the differences between a Family Court and Criminal Court proceeding. If grounds for a criminal charge exist, and the victim wishes to proceed in that court, the screener will recommend that the case be reviewed by the District Attorney's office. An Assistant District Attorney decides whether or not to prosecute, so your complaint might not be accepted at all, it might be referred back to the precinct so that an arrest can be made, or it might be referred to the court to start the criminal action without an arrest. If the Assistant District Attorney decides to start a criminal action without first seeking an arrest, he or she will write up a criminal complaint. If approved, the court will authorize the filing of the criminal complaint and issue a summons. The court may also issue an order of protection. Since the defendant is not in court, these documents must be personally served on him or her. The order of protection is not valid until the defendant receives it. Although you may serve the papers yourself, for your own safety you should have someone else do it. If requested, the police will serve these documents on the defendant for you. In some instances the Assistant District Attorney will arrange for the police to arrest the defendant. In either case, the defendant will have to appear in court for arraignment and the case will then proceed like any other prosecution (see above). [continued below]

How does a domestic violence case begin in Family Court?
To begin a case in Family Court, you must personally go to that court in the borough where you live, where the abuse occurred or where the abuser lives. A clerk will interview you in the Petition Room and will ask you for information to prepare a document called a petition which will start the Family Court action. The petition is a form used by the judge to determine what help you need. You should tell the clerk who prepares the petition what you want from the court. The petition should include any instances of physical or verbal abuse, including use of weapons, against you or your children. The petition should also include the abuser's name, address, physical description or photo, information of the abuser's use of alcohol or drugs, history of mental illness and previous Criminal, Matrimonial or Family Court cases. A judge will then review your petition and may ask you questions. The judge will decide whether or not to begin a case and issue a temporary order of protection. If the court authorizes the case to begin, the judge will issue a summons to order the abuser (called the respondent) to appear in court or an arrest warrant and may issue a temporary order of protection. Since the respondent is not in court when you file the petition, the order will not go into effect until it is personally served on the respondent. The police are required to serve the summons and order of protection on the respondent for you unless you tell the court that you will arrange for someone else to serve the papers. The judge will give you a date when you and the respondent must return to court. On that date, the judge will try to resolve the matter and work out a solution for future living arrangements. If a solution is not reached, the court will ultimately hold a trial. Both you and the respondent are entitled to have a lawyer. If you do not return to court, you will no longer have an order of protection. You should return to court even if the respondent refuses to go. You can start a Family Court case in Criminal Court during the hours Family Court is closed.

Violations of Orders of Protection
When an order of protection is issued by a judge, the court files it with the police department. If you have a valid order of protection from either Criminal Court or Family Court requiring the abuser to stay away from you and it is violated, the police are required to make an arrest. Keep your order of protection with you at all times to show the police. However, if you do not have the copy with you when the police arrive, they can check to determine that a valid order exists. It is against the law for anyone to threaten or intimidate you. If anyone is pressuring or threatening you concerning a criminal case, call the District Attorney's office or the police immediately.

For additional help or more information call the office or court nearest you: Bronx County, Kings County, New York County, Queens County, Richmond County or the NYC Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-621-HOPE.

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Bronx County

  • District Attorney's Domestic Violence & Sex Crimes Bureau (718) 590-2323
  • Family Court (718) 590-3285
  • Court Dispute Referral Centers (CDRC) (718) 590-4500


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Kings County (Brooklyn)

  • District Attorney's Domestic Violence Bureau (718) 250-3300
  • Family Court (718) 643-8895
  • Court Dispute Referral Centers (CDRC) (718) 643-6290


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New York County (Manhattan)

  • District Attorney's Family Violence and Child Abuse Bureau (212) 335-4300
  • Family Court (212) 374-8748
  • Court Dispute Referral Centers (CDRC) (646) 386-4953


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Queens County

  • District Attorney's Domestic Violence Bureau (718) 286-6550
  • Family Court (718) 520-3911
  • Court Dispute Referral Centers (CDRC) (718) 520-4710


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Richmond County (Staten Island)

  • District Attorney's Sex Crimes & Special Victims Unit (718) 876-6300
  • Family Court (718) 675-8800


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Midtown Community Court
In 1993, the New York State Unified Court System, the City of New York and the Fund for the City of New York established the Midtown Community Court. The Midtown Community Court, part of the Criminal Court of the City of New York, arraigns defendants who are arrested in Times Square, Clinton and Chelsea areas of the city and charged with any non-felony offense.

A key component of the Midtown Community Court is the alternative sentencing program. Here, the judge may sentence a defendant to enroll in a treatment program, attend a health education course or perform community service in the neighborhood surrounding the courthouse. These sentencing options allow the defendant to pay back the community for his or her criminal conduct as well as offer solutions to the personal problems which may cause the defendant to continue his or her involvement within the criminal justice system.

The Midtown Community Court maintains the first fully computerized courtroom in the city. Using the latest technology, the judge, prosecutors and defense attorneys can quickly access, via computer, the defendant's criminal record, arrest information, personal history, and the accusatory instrument. Large screen monitors are located throughout the courthouse which display the name of the defendant and his or her defense attorney, the charge, and status of the case.

The Midtown Community Court is located at 314 W. 54th Street and operates Monday through Friday, except holidays, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.


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Red Hook Community Justice Center
The year 2000 commemorates the opening of the Red Hook Community Justice Center. The Justice Center reflects a partnership of the New York Unified Court System, the Kings County District Attorney's Office and the City of New York as well as partnerships with many community based social service providers. Modeled after the Midtown Community Court, the Justice Center will integrate the functions of a court with the types of treatment and preventive services typically found in a community center.

The Justice Center seeks to address the needs of the community as a whole and is structured to address all those needs by incorporating a multi-jurisdictional court and housing programs to improve quality of life in Red Hook Community. The Justice Center will provide on-site social services addressing drug abuse, poverty, family violence, unemployment and education. It will also house community mediation services and job training programs. All of these services will be available to defendants and victims as well as to members of the Red Hook Community.

The Justice Center will also incorporate state-of-the-art technology making information readily available to judges and court personnel. This access enables informed decisions to be made more expeditiously. Technology also provides the court with the ability to track sentences and compliance with program mandates.

The Red Hook Community Justice Center is located at 88 Visitation Place, between Van Brunt and Richard Streets and operates Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

 

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Court Tours

For information concerning court tours, contact Patricia Parker, Community Resource Coordinator, at the Office of Justice Initiatives, 100 Centre Street, New York, NY, 646.386.4711.

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New York City Victim Information & Notification Everyday Program (VINE)

If you, a family member or a friend has been a victim of a crime and a person has been arrested for such crime, you may wonder whether that person is incarcerated. New York City has established a toll free 24 hour hotline which provides information and release notification concerning defendants in the custody of the New York City Department of Correction. This system is called New York City Victim Information & Notification Everyday Program (VINE). The telephone number is 1-888-VINE4NY or 1-888-846-3469.

You may call VINE by using a touch tone telephone and either enter the defendant's New York State ID number (NYSID number) or the defendant's name. VINE will also need the defendant's date of arrest or date of birth. If VINE confirms that the defendant is in custody, you may register with VINE and VINE will contact you by telephone when the defendant is released or transferred out of custody of the New York City Department of Correction. If you wish to register, VINE will need a touch tone telephone number where you can be reached and a four digit PIN (Personal Identification Number).

Once VINE learns that a defendant's custody status has changed, VINE will call you and continue to telephone at regular intervals for four days until you have been contacted. You will need to use the designated PIN number to confirm that the message has been received.

VINE only maintains information on defendants who are in custody of the NYC Department of Correction - not if a defendant is being held at a police precinct, juvenile detention center or a state correctional facility. Once arrested, a person may be released prior to or after arraignment. This person would not be considered in custody. It may take up to 48 hours or more from the time of arrest before the VINE system has information on a particular defendant.

Although the VINE system is highly reliable, do not rely on the VINE system for protection. You should take other precautions to ensure your safety. back to top