your friend should plead not guilty when he is arraigned on the charge because that is what all criminal
defendants are supposed to do at their arraignment. From there the DA assigned to the case will make your friend a plea offer. In my experience, the offer will be for a plea to something like Trespass or Disorderly Conduct
, either of which will be a violation and not a crime. The sentence
will be a fine or a conditional discharge (go home, stay out of trouble for a year).
If he wanted that plea he could get rid of this case without pleading guilty to a misdemeanor
and he would therefore avoid having a misdemeanor on her record. The plea to the violation would seal upon payment of the fine or upon her successfully remaining out of trouble for a year, and then it would not appear on her record.
Of course, she could also fight the charges, but if she does that, she will need a lawyer. A Petit Larceny
in NYS has a maximum possible penalty of a year of jail time, and if she loses at trial
, she may face some jail and would have a criminal conviction to carry around all of her life.
So, the important thing is to start off by pleading not guilty and to remain in a not guilty position until the DA offers him a deal that he thinks is a good thing for him because it lets him walk away without a misdmeanor conviction. At that point, when the offer is made, he can let the judge know that he'll accept that deal and he can take back his plea of not guilty and enter a new plea to the violation.