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.
An arraignment is the formal process where a person is charged with a felony or misdemeanor crime in court. In most cases, a defendant will have to appear in court to be arraigned.
Arraignments typically happen within 18 to 24 hours after arrest in New York City. This means that if you’re being arraigned, you've likely spent the past day in police custody. At your arraignment, you've the right to be represented by a lawyer.
During the arraignment, the judge will inform you of the charges against you and give you a copy of the complaint or indictment. You can enter a plea of guilty or not guilty at this stage, and the judge will decide whether or not to set bail. Bail is an amount of money that must be deposited with the court to secure your freedom in certain cases. The judge has two options: either release you on your own recognizance (no bail) or setting bail. If the judge chooses to set bail, which most often happens in more serious or violent crimes, then you'll have to meet the bail requirements in order to be released. This may be through cash, bail bond or even credit card in some cases. Once you post bail, you’ll be free until the case is resolved unless you violate the terms of your release.
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: