1. What is the difference between Probation and supervision provided by the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (formerly known as Parole)?
Answer: Probation occurs immediately following sentencing AFTER a person has been convicted of a crime and may or may not include jail time, Community Service, Restitution, Domicile Restriction, and / or other measures intended to be punitive or to achieve a higher level of accountability. Parole supervision occurs AFTER an individual has served a state mandated portion of their prison sentence and is once again permitted to re-enter the community but required continued supervision until the term of their prison sentence has reached its maximum date.
2. What is the difference between Restitution and a Court Ordered Fine or Court Fees?
Answer: Restitution is either part of or the entirety of a sentence given by a judge after a person has been convicted of a crime and is payable to the Probation Department on behalf of the victim. A court fine or court fees are a result of a statutory obligation imposed by the judge mandated by the State of New York that also occurs after a person is sentenced but is payable to the Court directly. In the case of court ordered fines and / or court fees, the Probation Department is not involved by any means in the collection or allocution of that money – it is paid and handled directly by the court imposing the fine and / or fee(s). **A common question regarding where D.N.A. Fees should be paid often arises after sentencing and the answer is that ALL court fees, including the D.N.A. fee, needs to be paid to the court directly. While Probation collects the D.N.A. sample itself, we do not handle the money to process the sample, the sentencing court collects that money.
3. What is R.O.R. ?
Answer: R.O.R. stands for Released on Own Recognizance, which means an individual has been charged with a crime and has made at least an initial appearance before a judge and is permitted to remain within the community without bail or further guarantee to return to the same court for all future court dates. If you have further questions regarding your status of your R.O.R. conditional release you may contact, Nancy Brown at 798-5914.
4. I have either Pled Guilty to a crime or have been convicted and now the court has ordered a P.S.I. from Probation…what does that mean?
Answer: Once an individual has either pled guilty to or has been convicted via a trial for a crime committed in Oneida County, the presiding judge will typically order a P.S.I., or a Pre-Sentence Investigation prior to the individual being sentenced in court. However, a Pre-Sentence Investigation is required with convictions resulting in a Youthful Offender status, if an Offender is sentenced to any period of Probation supervision, or if a Defendant is sentenced to a period of incarceration six months or longer. A Pre-Sentence Investigation requires the convicted individual to cooperate with the Probation Department in the form of an interview to gather demographic facts and information regarding the Defendant and the Defendant’s account or statement of what occurred leading to their arrest and subsequent conviction. The Pre-Sentence Investigation also includes information from the arresting officer, a section for the court to review the Defendant’s legal history prior to the current conviction and arrest, and an opportunity for the victim (if there is one) to make a statement to the court regarding the offense committed against them. Lastly, there is an evaluation of all the information gathered for the Probation Officer to make a recommendation regarding the Defendant’s sentence and their overall impression of the Defendant and the crime committed. While under normal circumstances a sentence has already been agreed upon by the Defendant in court and granted by the judge, there are rare cases when the investigation and information given to the court is significant enough for the judge to change the agreed upon sentence. The average length of time between conviction date, which is the date the Defendant either pled guilty or was found guilty, and the sentencing date is approximately 6 to 8 weeks.
5. What is P.I.N.S.?
Answer: P.I.N.S. is an acronym for Person In Need of Supervision as it relates to juveniles under the age of 18 experiencing behavioral problems in the home and / or school environment or is refusing to attend school as required. A parent experiencing behavioral issues with their child may be able to have a Pre-PINS referral made, if other criteria is met, and a school may make a Pre-PINS referral as well, also based upon certain criteria requirements prior to the referral being made. For more information please visit our P.I.N.S. section listed on the left.
6. What is Domicile Restriction?
Answer: Domicile Restriction is an alternative to incarceration, generally given at the time of sentencing after a Defendant has been convicted. Domicile Restriction is also commonly referred to as “House Arrest”. An ankle bracelet is secured to the leg of the Defendant which transmits a signal and locating information to a base unit connected to a phone land-line. A land-line phone signal is REQUIRED in order for Domicile Restriction to be effective and failure to obtain a land-line if Domicile Restriction is imposed upon sentencing IS grounds for violation of Probation conditions. If you do not have or do not want to have a land-line for a phone, DO NOT agree to Domicile Restriction and inform your attorney to seek another relief, such as jail time in lieu of Domicile Restriction, PRIOR to sentencing or this condition WILL be enforced.
7. What is a Youthful Offender?
Answer: The Youthful Offender (“Y.O.”) Statute was enacted to give defendants between 16 and 18 years of age a chance not to live with the stigma of a criminal record because their transgressions were not those of hardened criminals, but instead are youthful mistakes. Basic guidelines for eligibility are for youths aged 13 through 18 years old charged with crimes. Age is determined at the time of the offense. If the Judge grants the Defendant a Youthful Offender status, then the criminal conviction is set aside and a youthful adjudication is given. Some of the benefits to a Youthful Offender status granted by the court are:
- No criminal record. If your ever asked have you been convicted of a crime, the truthful answer would be no.
- Lesser sentences available
- The adjudication is limited to the People in any subsequent criminal proceedings.
- No DNA sample or accompanying DNA data bank fee
- No Sex Offender fee or supplemental sex offender victim fee.
For more information specific to a particular case, please speak with an attorney for additional legal guidance.
8. What is an A.C.D.?
Answer: A.C.D. stands for Adjournment in Contemplation of Dismissal. It is sometimes referred to as an A.C.o.D. Where an individual is accused of a crime in New York, an ACD may be offered as a way to settle the matter. Where an ACD is entered, the matter is adjourned for a period of time (often 6 months, but can be up to a year). Certain terms and conditions are set forth that the accused must comply with during that period. Those terms may include that the accused not be rearrested, comply with community service or the entry of an order of protection. If those terms and conditions are complied with, when the ACD period expires the case is dismissed. An ACD is not a conviction. Typically an ACD is available where the accused is charged with relatively minor crimes and/or does not have an extensive criminal record, and frequently Probation is not even involved in this type of resolution but can be, depending on the court’s disposition regarding the matter.
9. My license has been suspended or revoked, how do I get it back?
Answer: New York State Driver’s License suspensions occur on a variety of convictions, several that are not related to driving offenses whatsoever, as New York State views driving as a privilege and suspension or revocation is intended to be strictly punitive in nature. With that understanding, it is the Department of Motor Vehicles who often determines the eligibility of an individual wishing to reinstate their license. In cases involving a D.W.I. conviction, Probation’s recommendation and paperwork is required and therefore you should refer to our D.W.I. hyperlink to the left of this page for more information. In situations not involving a D.W.I. or D.W.A.I., typical license suspension, such as in a drug related offense, is six (6) months and can be reinstated upon application to the D.M.V once the six months has been served. If you do NOT have a license at the time of your sentencing and plan on allowing the first six months of your sentence to lapse prior to applying for a license, please be aware that the six month suspension does NOT begin until AFTER you have been granted the license. Therefore, if you have waited six months prior to applying for a license with the hopes your suspension would be served by merely waiting, you would be incorrect. Your suspension begins once you are granted the license so with the example noted above, you would need to wait an additional six months and therefore would be without your license for approximately one year. However, in the event your license is suspended for six months and your license is otherwise free of revocations, fines, fees, or suspensions, you may apply for a Conditional License during your suspension permitting you to drive to work, Probation, emergency medical circumstances, etc. but will not be able to use your license for casual occurrences such as groceries, entertainment, family visitation, etc. Again, the suspension or revocation is intended to be punitive and to restrict your driving privileges. For further information, you may visit the New York State D.M.V. website at: http://www.dmv.ny.gov/
10. When does my Probation supervision term start?
Answer: Probation supervision, and therefore the Conditions of Probation, is effective the day of sentencing. Immediately following court once sentence is imposed the Conditions of Probation are in effect, this includes any time served in Oneida County Jail as a result of the sentence AFTER the Conditions of Probation are signed by the judge and the Defendant. Probation is a result of a CONVICTION and subsequent sentence of the court. Therefore, it should be understood that once Probation has been given as a sentence and the Defendant is then required to be supervised by Probation in some capacity, a Conviction has been entered through the New York State court system. **There are certain exceptions to this guideline such as a Youthful Offender Status as mentioned above in which case the individual is still sentenced to Probation but the conviction is vacated and at times an individual may be supervised by Probation during an A.C.D. However, it should be noted that these situations are far more the exception to the rule than the standard and if a Defendant is sentenced to Probation, a conviction has been entered against the individual. For further clarification, please refer to an attorney for additional legal advice and guidance.
**For those individuals who have completed a term of Probation and would like to have their records reviewed for employment, military, or college consideration the only individual able to assist you is the Director of Oneida County Probation, Mr. David Tomidy. Please direct all calls or correspondence to him and realize the demands on his schedule preclude him from immediate availability. Mr. Tomidy will do his best, based upon the available notice given to him, to accommodate your request.
11. What is a Certificate of Relief from Disabilities and how do I obtain one if I meet the criteria?
Answer: Once an Offender has begun their Probation supervision term and has demonstrated consistent compliance with their Conditions of Probation, the assigned Probation Officer may grant the Offender’s request for a Certificate of Relief from Disabilities which can enhance the Offender’s opportunities and likelihood of finding gainful employment. It is at the discretion of the Probation Officer and subsequent judge to grant the relief. The application for relief may or may not be granted by the judge, simply being given the opportunity to present the application by the Probation Officer is NOT a guarantee of the Certificate being granted. For more information relating to the Certificate of Relief from Disabilities please see the information below as it appears in New York State statute context:
Laws governing Certificates of Relief from Disabilities were enacted “to reduce the automatic rejection and community isolation that often accompany conviction of crimes” and “contribute to the complete rehabilitation of first offenders and their successful return to responsible lives in the community.”
Eligibility: a person is eligible to receive a Certificate of Relief from Disabilities if he / she has been convicted of a crime or of an offense, but has not been convicted of more than one felony. A “felony” means a conviction of a felony in this state or of an offense in any other jurisdiction for which a sentence to a term of imprisonment in excess of one year, or a sentence of death, was authorized. Two or more convictions of felonies charged in separate counts of one indictment or information or two or more convictions of felonies charged in two or more indictments or information’s, filed in the same court prior to judgment under any of them, shall be considered only one conviction.
Additionally, a plea or verdict of guilty upon which a sentence or the execution of a sentence has been suspended or upon which a sentence of probation, conditional discharge or unconditional discharge has been imposed, shall be considered a conviction.
**Does an individual adjudicated a youthful offender incur any civil disabilities resulting in a need to secure a Certificate of Relief from Disabilities?
No. Criminal Procedure Law §720.35 (1) states “a youthful offender adjudication is not a judgment of conviction for a crime or any other offense, and does not operate as a disqualification of any person so adjudged to hold public office or public employment or to receive any license granted by public authority”. Therefore, no certificate is necessary.
** What can a Certificate of Relief from Disabilities do and not do?
In general, Correction Law §701 provides that a certificate may relieve an eligible offender of any forfeiture or disability, or remove any bar to employment, automatically imposed by law by reason of conviction of the crime or the offense. A conviction for a crime specified in a Certificate of Relief from Disabilities shall not cause automatic forfeiture of any license, permit, employment or franchise, including the right to register for or vote at an election, or automatic forfeiture of any other right or privilege, held by the eligible offender and covered by the certificate. However, a certificate cannot overcome automatic forfeiture resulting from convictions for violations of Public Health Law §2806(5) or Vehicle and Traffic Law (VTL) §1193(2) (b). These sections of law relate to revocation of a hospital operating certificate and suspension of a New York State Driver’s License, respectively.
Further, a conviction for a second or subsequent violation of any subdivision of VTL §1192 within the preceding 10 years imposes a disability to apply for or receive an operator’s license during the period provided in such law. A certificate also does not permit the convicted person to retain or be eligible for public office, nor does it void the conviction as if it were a pardon (see Correction Law §§701 and 706).
A certificate cannot in any way prevent any judicial, administrative licensing or other body, board or authority from relying upon the conviction specified therein as the basis for exercise of its discretionary power to suspend, revoke, refuse to issue or refuse to renew any license, permit or other authority or privilege. (see Correction Law §701(3)) However, Correction Law Article 23-A establishes parameters to safeguard against unfair discrimination against persons previously convicted of one or more criminal offenses by a “public agency” or “private employer”. Correction Law §752 establishes that no applicant for any “license” or “employment”, to which the provisions of this article are applicable, can be denied a license or employment by reason of the applicant’s previous criminal conviction or by reason of a finding of lack of “good moral character” when such finding is based upon the applicant’s criminal conviction of one or more criminal offenses, unless:
(1) there is a “direct relationship” between one or more of the previous criminal offenses and the specific license or employment sought; or
(2) the issuance of the license or granting of the employment would involve an unreasonable risk to property or to the safety or welfare of specific individuals or the general public.
Correction Law §753(2) establishes that in making a determination pursuant to Correction Law §752, a public agency or private employer must give consideration to a certificate of relief from disabilities or certificate of good conduct issued to an applicant and the certificate “shall create a presumption of rehabilitation in regard to the offense or offenses specified therein.”
For more information relating to a Certificate of Relief From Disabilities, please consult an attorney.