180.50 Proceedings upon felony complaint; reduction of charge.
1. Whether or not the defendant waives a hearing upon the felony complaint, the local criminal court may, upon consent of the district attorney, make inquiry for the purpose of determining whether (a) the available facts and evidence relating to the conduct underlying the felony complaint provide a basis for charging the defendant with an offense other than a felony, and (b) if so, whether the charge should, in the manner prescribed in subdivision three, be reduced from one for a felony to one for a non-felony offense. Upon such inquiry, the court may question any person who it believes may possess information relevant to the matter, including the defendant if he wishes to be questioned.
2. If after such inquiry the court is satisfied that there is reasonable cause to believe that the defendant committed an offense other than a felony, it may order the indicated reduction as follows:
(a) If there is not reasonable cause to believe that the defendant committed a felony in addition to the non-felony offense in question, the court may as a matter of right order a reduction of the charge to one for the non-felony offense;
(b) If there is reasonable cause to believe that the defendant committed a felony in addition to the non-felony offense, the court may order a reduction of the charge to one for the non-felony offense only if (i) it is satisfied that such reduction is in the interest of justice, and (ii) the district attorney consents thereto; provided, however, that the court may not order such reduction where there is reasonable cause to believe that the defendant committed a class A felony, other than those defined in article two hundred twenty of the penal law, or any armed felony as defined in subdivision forty-one of section 1.20.
3. A charge is "reduced" from a felony to a non-felony offense, within the meaning of this section, by replacing the felony complaint with, or converting it to, another local criminal court accusatory instrument, as follows:
(a) If the factual allegations of the felony complaint and/or any supporting depositions are legally sufficient to support the charge that the defendant committed the non-felony offense in question, the court may:
(i) Direct the district attorney to file with the court a prosecutor's information charging the defendant with such non-felony offense; or
(ii) Request the complainant of the felony complaint to file with the court an information charging the defendant with such non-felony offense. If such an information is filed, any supporting deposition supporting or accompanying the felony complaint is deemed also to support or accompanying the replacing information; or
(iii) Convert the felony complaint, or a copy thereof, into an information by notations upon or attached thereto which make the necessary and appropriate changes in the title of the instrument and in the names of the offense or offenses charged. In case of such conversion, any supporting deposition supporting or accompanying the felony complaint is deemed also to support or accompany the information to which it has been converted;
(b) If the non-felony offense in question is a misdemeanor, and if the factual allegations of the felony complaint together with those of any supporting depositions, though providing reasonable cause to believe that the defendant committed such misdemeanor are not legally sufficient to support such misdemeanor charge, the court may cause such felony complaint to be replaced by or converted to a misdemeanor complaint charging the misdemeanor in question, in the manner prescribed in subparagraphs two and three of paragraph (a) of this subdivision.
(c) An information, a prosecutor's information or a misdemeanor complaint filed pursuant to this section may, pursuant to the ordinary rules of joinder, charge two or more offenses, and it may jointly charge with each offense any two or more defendants originally so charged in the felony complaint;
(d) Upon the filing of an information, a prosecutor's information or a misdemeanor complaint pursuant to this section, the court must dismiss the felony complaint from which such accusatory instrument is derived. It must then arraign the defendant upon the new accusatory instrument and inform him of his rights in connection therewith in the manner provided in section 170.10.
4. Upon making any finding other than that specified in subdivision two, the court must conduct a hearing upon the felony complaint, unless the defendant has waived the same. In the case of such waiver the court must order that the defendant be held for the action of a grand jury.
Last modified: February 3, 2019