The Arrest Process in New YorkWritten by Susan Chana Lask, Esq.
www.appellate-brief.com When you’re arrested, your first contact will be with local police precinct. The person who arrests you is “arresting officer.” The arrest process can legally take up to three days (72 hours) before you see a judge for arraignment. Throughout this process, you must remain silent about everything, except you can give basic information such as your name, residence, and other identifying information. But do not speak about anything else to anyone, even person who might be in cell with you. Always remain silent until your attorney speaks with you because anything you say to nayone at this point can and will be used against you. At precinct, a detective will interview you to get basic information (like your full name, present address and family member contact information) and possibly try to get information from you to use as evidence against you. Do not say anything except give your basic identification. The detective may ask you for contact information of your family or friends who can verify who you are and where you live. If you provide your home number or other numbers then arresting officer may call your family or friends to verify your information. He may even ask further information about you that may incriminate you later. You should be careful what numbers you give out and at least call person who you may refer to police first and let them know just to verify who you are and nothing else. While you are at precinct, police will definitely run a check on you to discover if you committed other crimes or if outstanding warrants exist for your arrest. This information is also needed for arresting officer to fill out paperwork to get you through arrest process and to arraignment court. The police will fingerprint you and take arrest photos. Then arresting officer will make a file for you from information he obtains from you, prints, photos and his notes. He will then fax file to District Attorney’s office so they can draft a criminal complaint against you and assign your case file a docket number. You’ll sit in precinct jail cell an average of six hours until they can arrange transportation for you to another place called “Central Booking.” Whenever they transport you they will handcuff you, so be prepared to cooperate and go through motions. At Central Booking The Central Booking process can take about four hours. You’ll wait in line with hundreds of other arrested persons to get to an interview table. At interview table an intake person will ask you about any health problems you may have and more identifying information, including:
Pleas & Court Appearances in New York Criminal CourtsWritten by Susan Chana Lask, Esq.
At arraignment, District Attorney may offer a plea to a lesser charge than what you were arrested for originally. Pleas are offered to unburden an extremely congested criminal court calendar, as well as to get rid of lesser criminal cases so District Attorney can rightfully concentrate on more serious crimes. If you were arrested for misdemeanor shoplifting and you arrive at arraignment with no prior arrests, most likely District Attorney will offer you option of pleading guilty to a lesser violation and a few days of community service with a fine. You have option to end process by accepting lower charge of a violation, which is not a crime but will appear on your record in future. If you accept plea then you will actually plead guilty to a lesser offense on record and court will most likely impose a fine and community service or counseling, depending upon what you and District Attorney agreed to. If you don’t accept plea, you will simply plead "not guilty" and continue your criminal court appearances. Your attorney will file various motions and hold hearings to discover what evidence District Attorney has against you or to get charges dismissed. An example of such a hearing would be called a "Huntley Hearing". In that hearing your attorney's objective is to get any incriminating statements you made suppressed, meaning they can not be used against you. The point of that hearing is that police obtained statements from you invlountarily. At hearing your attorney will cross-examine police involved in your arrest by asking them detailed questions. If your attorney can prove your statements were coerced or obtained form you in some way involuntarily then you have just eliminiated a criucial piece of evidence against you, making your case of innocence stronger. As you proceed further through criminal court process, plea to a lesser charge may or may not be offered again. Whether or not you accept a plea is something only you and your attorney can decide, based upon your circumstances. Just remember that plea will always be on your record as opposed to fighting charges if you’re innocent and getting whole criminal case dismissed, clearing your name. Your Criminal Court Appearances If you plead not guilty and are released “ROR” (meaning without bail and on your own recognizance) or on bail, you’ll be given next date to appear before court. At that time court will set deadlines for your attorney to complete certain work on your behalf. The District Attorney has a limited period of time to complete his investigation and state on record he is ready for trial. The time limits are mandatory to protect your constitutional right to a speedy trial. So you should be prepared to quickly prove your innocence. Being accused of a crime is a stigma, and reality is that you are actually presumed guilty until you prove your innocence (contrary to belief that "you are presumed innocent until proven guilty").