‘Nails’ Update: Dykstra Rejects Deal; Pleads Not Guilty
The troubled former Met is back in trouble again, this time after allegedly threatening an Uber driver and possessing illegal narcotics.
Police in New Jersey arrested Dykstra earlier in 2018 after an Uber driver made the above accusations. Police did not recover a weapon, but they did find narcotics in the car’s back seat. Mr. Dykstra’s side of the story is quite different. He alleges that the Uber driver kidnapped him. At any rate, Union County prosecutors offered Mr. Dykstra probation in August, and he rejected that offer. His criminal defense lawyer now says he needs more time to gather evidence in the case, which is set for January 2019.
“I don’t think he’s guilty of what he’s been charged with and I’m hoping we can amicably resolve this case and if we can’t, we’ll absolutely be going to trial,” remarked Mr. Dykstra’s attorney David Bahuriak.
Deal or No Deal?
Plea bargains resolve over 90 percent of the criminal cases in New York. These plea arrangements usually involve reduced charges and/or a lesser sentence. Reduced charges often ease the collateral consequences of a criminal conviction. For example, a plea to reckless conduct as opposed to a sexual offense might relax the registration requirement under New York law.
As for the reduced sentence portion, at least some punishment is usually forthcoming. Prosecutors hardly ever dismiss cases outright. When it comes to serving that sentence, most defendants have several options.
Most people eschew jail or prison sentences at any cost. But in some cases, a brief incarceration period might be better than a lengthy period of court supervision. Generally, accommodations like house arrest, weekend service, or work release are available. Moreover, depending on the population conditions at the time, the sheriff might offer incentives like three days’ credit for every one day served.
Deferred adjudication may also be an option in many cases. This type of probation is especially attractive in New York and other jurisdictions that have limited expungement laws. If the defendant successfully completes the period of probation, the prosecutor dismisses the case. The defendant has no conviction record.
Deferred adjudication has some significant down sides as well. Be sure you go over all the pros and cons with your attorney.
Most New York plea bargains involve regular probation. If defendants successfully complete probation, they usually avoid jail time. Common probation conditions include paying fines and court costs, completing classes, performing community service, and staying out of any legal trouble.
In New York, once defendants complete half the period, they may be eligible for early discharge. A successful early discharge motion gets you out from under court supervision much quicker.
Defenses to Criminal Cases in New York
If you have a defense, your attorney can leverage that defense at trial and during the plea negotiation process. In many cases, lack of evidence is the best defense. The prosecutor must prove every element of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt. That’s the highest level of proof in New York law. Essentially, jurors must be convinced that there is overwhelming evidence in favor of guilt and almost nothing that supports acquittal.
An affirmative defense may be available as well. Such defenses are especially common in drug cases. Many times, officers did not have a search warrant before they seized contraband and a search warrant exceptions does not apply. In that case, the seized drugs would be inadmissible at trial.