Common criminal law questions in New York State

What happens if I have been arrested in New York?

If you have been arrested in New York, the following events typically occur:

Arrest: The arresting officer will take you into custody and inform you of the charges against you. They will read you your Miranda rights, which include the right to remain silent and the right to an attorney.

Booking: After your arrest, you will be taken to a local police station or a central booking facility. During the booking process, your personal information will be recorded, such as your name, address, and fingerprints. You may also undergo a search, and your personal belongings will be taken from you temporarily.

Detention: Depending on the severity of the offense and other factors, you may be held in police custody for a brief period, typically up to 24 hours, or longer if necessary. During this time, you may be placed in a holding cell or a local jail.

Arraignment: Following your arrest and detention, you will have an arraignment hearing. This is where you appear before a judge, who informs you of the charges formally and asks for your plea (guilty, not guilty, or no contest). If you cannot afford an attorney, the court will appoint a public defender to represent you.

Bail: If the offense is bailable, the judge will set bail during the arraignment. Bail is a sum of money that you must pay to secure your release from custody until your trial. Alternatively, the judge may release you on your own recognizance, meaning you promise to appear in court without paying bail.

Pretrial Proceedings: If you are unable to post bail or the judge denies your release, you will remain in custody until your trial. Otherwise, you will be released, and the case will proceed to the next stage, which involves various pretrial proceedings such as discovery, where both the prosecution and defense exchange evidence and information.

Trial: If your case goes to trial, the prosecution will present its evidence and witnesses, and your defense attorney will have an opportunity to cross-examine them. You and your attorney will also have a chance to present your own evidence and witnesses. A jury or judge (in some cases) will then determine your guilt or innocence.

Sentencing: If you are found guilty or if you plead guilty, the judge will impose a sentence which can include fines, probation, community service, or imprisonment. The severity of the sentence depends on numerous factors, such as the nature of the crime and your criminal history.

Appeals: If you are convicted and believe there were errors or issues during your trial, you have the right to appeal the verdict or the sentence. Appeals involve higher courts reviewing the lower court’s proceedings for legal errors.

It’s important to note that the exact process can vary depending on the specific circumstances of your arrest, the nature of the charges, and other factors. Consulting with a criminal defense attorney who is familiar with New York laws would be advisable to understand your rights and legal options accurately.

criminal law