The criminal justice system in New York City can be complex and overwhelming. Police and prosecutors have many opportunities to take advantage of you. Arraignment is the first part of the court process where you can benefit from the assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney.
Arraignment is the formal process that begins every criminal proceeding. You will plead NOT guilty.
Arraignment is when you first learn:
Bail is an amount of money that must be deposited with the court to secure your freedom while your case is pending. The judge has two options: 1) release you on your own recognizance (no bail); or 2) set bail. If the judge sets bail, which is more likely to happen with more serious charges, then someone must put up money or a bail bond for you to be released. This may be through cash, bail bond or even credit card in some cases.
Once you post bail, you’ll remain free until the case is resolved, unless you violate the terms of your release, or the Court increases for some other reason.
In New York City, arraignment typically happens within 14 to 24 hours after arrest. This means that if you’re being arraigned, you've likely spent most of the past day in police custody.
At your arraignment, you have the right to be represented by a lawyer. If you can't afford a lawyer, the Court will appoint a lawyer to represent you.
If you can afford a lawyer, but you haven't had the opportunity to hire one for your arraignment, the Court will appoint a lawyer to represent you, but require you to hire a lawyer before the next court date.
While you're waiting to be arraigned, you’ll likely be in police custody. The police may try to get you to talk about the alleged crime at any point. Exercise your constitutional right to remain silent and/or your right to a lawyer. You do not have to talk to the police, and you should not talk to the police without your attorney present. Talking to the police will only hurt you and help them.
Similarly, if a friend or family member makes contact with you, avoid talking about the case at all. Tell the caller that you're hiring a lawyer and that you cannot discuss the case. While your loved one may be upset that you cannot explain more, you do not want to take the chance of incriminating yourself on the call. The smartest move is to simply not discuss the case with anyone except for your New York criminal defense attorney.
If you’ve been arrested and are waiting for arraignment, call me immediately — I'm available 24/7/365. After you retain me as your counsel, I can do several things on your behalf: