Arrest to Arraignment Process in New York
If you or a loved one has ever been placed under arrest, you know that it is a scary process. Here is a step-by-step guide to get you safely home from police custody. The most important thing is to stay calm and be respectful.
Initial Interaction with PoliceWhile you are having the initial interaction with law enforcement officers it is important never to incriminate yourself. Do not consent to a search of your person, your belongings, or your vehicle. The Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution gives us the right to refuse to consent to search. If the officers search without consent, this may be an issue that your attorney can litigate in an attempt to suppress evidence being used against you. Do not incriminate yourself. In other words, answer questions honestly but remain silent on topics which may tend to support an officers belief that you have broken the law. That is your right guaranteed by the Fifth Amendment. And remember, always ask to speak to your lawyer as soon as you are placed under arrest.
Miranda RightsMany people are upset when police officers do not read them their Miranda Rights. The fact is, police only have to read you these rights if they plan to question you. However, it is important to know your rights. You have the right to remain silent, anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to consult an attorney and for your attorney to be present during any questioning. If you cannot afford an attorney one will be provided to you before any questioning. You can exercise these rights at any point in time. Many times the best idea is to tell officers you do not wish to speak to them without your lawyer present.
Arrest ProcessIf you are arrested you will be brought to the local police precinct. If the charge is a felony or otherwise serious you may be questioned by Detectives. It is important to understand your Miranda rights and never to incriminate yourself. You will be brought to arrest processing where they will take your photograph and fingerprints. You will then spend a period of time in a holding cell before your arraignment. Remember to be respectful during this process and not to speak to anyone about your arrest. You will be given an opportunity to make a phone call. Use this call to notify a family member, friend, or attorney that you have been arrested. Do not discuss the circumstances of your arrest. Many times my clients say something to a friend in a holding cell or on the telephone and that statement is later used against them at trial. The law says you must see a judge within 48 hours of arrest.
ArraignmentAt your arraignment you will see a judge, be given a lawyer if you did not already retain counsel, and be formally charged with committing crime. You have the right to an attorney at your arraignment. If the judge agrees to release you on your own recognizance, or ROR, you will be given the next court date and are free to go. If however, bail is set you will need to pay the bail money to the court clerk in cash or see a bail bondsmen. A bail bondsmen will put up a bond for the bail if you can provide some form of collateral. Many times you can find bondsmen offices near the courthouse. If you cannot make bail then you will be held at Rikers Island until the next court date. It is important to have your lawyer at your arraignment, especially if you are being held on bail. There are many protections under the law afforded to people who are incarcerated. Criminal Procedure Law sections 170.70 and 180.80 set time limits for action by the District Attorney's Office when an individual is incarcerated at arraignment.