New York Criminal Procedure Law § 220.10 Plea;  kinds of pleas




The only kinds of pleas which may be entered to an indictment are those specified in this section:

1. The defendant may as a matter of right enter a plea of “not guilty” to the indictment.

2. Except as provided in subdivision five, the defendant may as a matter of right enter a plea of “guilty” to the entire indictment.

3. Except as provided in subdivision five, where the indictment charges but one crime, the defendant may, with both the permission of the court and the consent of the people, enter a plea of guilty of a lesser included offense.

4. Except as provided in subdivision five, where the indictment charges two or more offenses in separate counts, the defendant may, with both the permission of the court and the consent of the people, enter a plea of:

(a) Guilty of one or more but not all of the offenses charged;  or

(b) Guilty of a lesser included offense with respect to any or all of the offenses charged;  or

(c) Guilty of any combination of offenses charged and lesser offenses included within other offenses charged.

5. (a)(i) Where the indictment charges one of the class A felonies defined in article two hundred twenty of the penal law or the attempt to commit any such class A felony, then any plea of guilty entered pursuant to subdivision three or four of this section must be or must include at least a plea of guilty of a class B felony.

(ii) Repealed.  .

(iii) Where the indictment charges one of the class B felonies defined in article two hundred twenty of the penal law then any plea of guilty entered pursuant to subdivision three or four must be or must include at least a plea of guilty of a class D felony.

(b) Where the indictment charges any class B felony, other than a class B felony defined in article two hundred twenty of the penal law or a class B violent felony offense as defined in subdivision one of section 70.02 of the penal law, then any plea of guilty entered pursuant to subdivision three or four must be or must include at least a plea of guilty of a felony.

(c) Where the indictment charges a felony, other than a class A felony or class B felony defined in article two hundred twenty of the penal law or class B or class C violent felony offense as defined in subdivision one of section 70.02 of the penal law, and it appears that the defendant has previously been subjected to a predicate felony conviction as defined in penal law section 70.06 then any plea of guilty entered pursuant to subdivision three or four must be or must include at least a plea of guilty of a felony.

(d) Where the indictment charges a class A felony, other than those defined in article two hundred twenty of the penal law, or charges a class B or class C violent felony offense as defined in subdivision one of section 70.02 of the penal law, then a plea of guilty entered pursuant to subdivision three or four must be as follows:

(i) Where the indictment charges a class A felony offense or a class B violent felony offense which is also an armed felony offense then a plea of guilty must include at least a plea of guilty to a class C violent felony offense;

(ii) Except as provided in subparagraph (i) of this paragraph, where the indictment charges a class B violent felony offense or a class C violent felony offense, then a plea of guilty must include at least a plea of guilty to a class D violent felony offense;

(iii) Where the indictment charges the class D violent felony offense of criminal possession of a weapon in the third degree as defined in subdivision four of section 265.02 of the penal law, and the defendant has not been previously convicted of a class A misdemeanor defined in the penal law in the five years preceding the commission of the offense, then a plea of guilty must be either to the class E violent felony offense of attempted criminal possession of a weapon in the third degree or to the class A misdemeanor of criminal possession of a weapon in the fourth degree as defined in subdivision one of section 265.01 of the penal law;

(iv) Where the indictment charges the class D violent felony offenses of criminal possession of a weapon in the third degree as defined in subdivision four of section 265.02 of the penal law and the provisions of subparagraph (iii) of this paragraph do not apply, or subdivision five, seven or eight of section 265.02 of the penal law, then a plea of guilty must include at least a plea of guilty to a class E violent felony offense.

(e) A defendant may not enter a plea of guilty to the crime of murder in the first degree as defined in section 125.27 of the penal law;  provided, however, that a defendant may enter such a plea with both the permission of the court and the consent of the people when the agreed upon sentence is either life imprisonment without parole or a term of imprisonment for the class A-I felony of murder in the first degree other than a sentence of life imprisonment without parole.

(f) The provisions of this subdivision shall apply irrespective of whether the defendant is thereby precluded from entering a plea of guilty of any lesser included offense.

(g) Where the defendant is a juvenile offender, the provisions of paragraphs (a), (b), (c) and (d) of this subdivision shall not apply and any plea entered pursuant to subdivision three or four of this section, must be as follows:

(i) If the indictment charges a person fourteen or fifteen years old with the crime of murder in the second degree any plea of guilty entered pursuant to subdivision three or four must be a plea of guilty of a crime for which the defendant is criminally responsible;

(ii) If the indictment does not charge a crime specified in subparagraph (i) of this paragraph, then any plea of guilty entered pursuant to subdivision three or four of this section must be a plea of guilty of a crime for which the defendant is criminally responsible unless a plea of guilty is accepted pursuant to subparagraph (iii) of this paragraph;

(iii) Where the indictment does not charge a crime specified in subparagraph (i) of this paragraph, the district attorney may recommend removal of the action to the family court.  Upon making such recommendation the district attorney shall submit a subscribed memorandum setting forth: (1) a recommendation that the interests of justice would best be served by removal of the action to the family court;  and (2) if the indictment charges a thirteen year old with the crime of murder in the second degree, or a fourteen or fifteen year old with the crimes of rape in the first degree as defined in subdivision one of section 130.35 of the penal law, or criminal sexual act in the first degree as defined in subdivision one of section 130.50 of the penal law, or an armed felony as defined in paragraph (a) of subdivision forty-one of section 1.20 of this chapter specific factors, one or more of which reasonably supports the recommendation, showing, (i) mitigating circumstances that bear directly upon the manner in which the crime was committed, or (ii) where the defendant was not the sole participant in the crime, that the defendant's participation was relatively minor although not so minor as to constitute a defense to the prosecution, or (iii) possible deficiencies in proof of the crime, or (iv) where the juvenile offender has no previous adjudications of having committed a designated felony act, as defined in subdivision eight of section 301.2 of the family court act, regardless of the age of the offender at the time of commission of the act, that the criminal act was not part of a pattern of criminal behavior and, in view of the history of the offender, is not likely to be repeated.

If the court is of the opinion based on specific factors set forth in the district attorney's memorandum that the interests of justice would best be served by removal of the action to the family court, a plea of guilty of a crime or act for which the defendant is not criminally responsible may be entered pursuant to subdivision three or four of this section, except that a thirteen year old charged with the crime of murder in the second degree may only plead to a designated felony act, as defined in subdivision eight of section 301.2 of the family court act.

Upon accepting any such plea, the court must specify upon the record the portion or portions of the district attorney's statement the court is relying upon as the basis of its opinion and that it believes the interests of justice would best be served by removal of the proceeding to the family court. Such plea shall then be deemed to be a juvenile delinquency fact determination and the court upon entry thereof must direct that the action be removed to the family court in accordance with the provisions of article seven hundred twenty-five of this chapter.

(h) Where the indictment charges the class E felony offense of aggravated harassment of an employee by an inmate as defined in section 240.32 of the penal law, then a plea of guilty must include at least a plea of guilty to a class E felony.

6. The defendant may, with both the permission of the court and the consent of the people, enter a plea of not responsible by reason of mental disease or defect to the indictment in the manner prescribed in section 220.15 of this chapter.


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