What Is an Arraignment In New York?

Arraignment in New York

If you have recently been charged with a criminal offense in New York and have never been through a criminal prosecution before you likely have a number of questions and concerns regarding the process itself. After your arrest, your first court appearance will be for your arraignment. If you have retained the services of an experienced New York criminal defense attorney prior to your arraignment your attorney can provide you with specific guidance and answer case specific questions; however, a brief overview of the arraignment process is helpful to anyone facing criminal charges in New York.

An arraignment is the initial court appearance in a criminal prosecution. Normally, after being arrested you are held in Central Booking where you are processed. When that is completed,  you will be brought over to the court from the jail and appear before the judge. sometimes you may be  released from custody prior to the court arraignment and issued a summons or desk appearance ticket. If this is the case,  you are expected to appear for the arraignment at a later time.  Within the City of New York you can expect to be arraigned within about 24 hours of your arrest. In New York City the arraignment courts operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year because of the volume of people arrested and processed through the system. In smaller jurisdictions you can still usually count on being arraigned within about 48 hours.  If you are not being held in custody, your arraignment may be set out several weeks.

At your arraignment,  the court will advise you of the charges that have been filed against you and ask you if you understand them. This is not the time to discuss the charges. The judge only wants to know if you understand what you have been charged with by the State of New York. The judge will also advise you of your Constitutional rights, including the right to counsel. The prosecutor will also advise of any statement notices or identification notices they plan to use against you and may also inform the court of any other important evidence or factual information about the case connecting you to the crime. If you are not already represented by an attorney the court may inquire if you plan to hire an attorney or appoint a court appointed lawyer is you do not have the funds to pay for one.  Sometimes, depending on the seriousness of the charges, a plea bargain may be worked out and the case resolved at this initial appearance. Most often, however, the case will go forward and be adjourned. When this happens, the court must decide on a reasonable bail based on all relevant facts and circumstances. For most defendants the most important matter at an arraignment is bail. The court will set bail at your arraignment after hearing legal arguments  by the prosecutor and your attorney.  You can be released without bail or held on a cash or bond.

Bail is set at your arraignment and whether you are detained or released is determined during this stage.  it is in your best interest to arrange for legal representation prior to the arraignment if possible.  Click here for a free case review.

You have rights and should use them. You are entitled to have an attorney present and represent you throughout the proceedings to even the playing field; however, you must exercise your right to counsel by telling the prosecutor or police officer that you do not want to answer any questions until you have an attorney with you. If you do not ask, they will not get one and they will keep questioning you until they get something.

Please check our representative case page and testimonials & referrals page to see specific information regarding past cases and what our clients and other attorneys have to say about our legal services. Please feel free to contact The Law Offices of Adam Thompson, P.C. for more information about our experience in any legal area anytime at (212)267-2424.