The person under arrest (or their family or friends) who sits back to “wait and see what happens” when they go to court does so at their own peril and at risk of their freedom. During this critical time period, experienced legal guidance can be extremely valuable because so much can change so quickly. On one hand initial review of the case against the accused could reveal evidence and materials that make the prosecution’s case tremendously stronger. This will, unfortunately, impact the judge’s decision on whether or not the person should be released with or without bail, the amount and type of bail needed and, most importantly , the leverage counsel will have in any subsequent negotiations with the District Attorney’s Office during any plea bargaining discussions (if that option is desired) . On the other hand, sometimes it may appear that the prosecutor’s hand is particularly weak and a dismissal of charges may be possible before they are formally read.
A Young, Klein, & Associates attorney can help guide you through the arraignment process. We can look at the evidence against you and make a recommendation
What is the Purpose of an Arraignment?
The purpose of the arraignment is to have a judge read the allegations made against the accused aloud in a court of law. The accused is provided with a written summary of the charges they face as well. Further from the allegations that are formally charged, the judge makes a determination as to whether or not a person should be released pending disposition of the case, and if so, under what conditions ( i.e., bail, house arrest, order of protection, license suspension, other liberty restrictions, etc.). In some cases the judge may issue a RoR or, release on recognizance, which is essentially a promise that the individual will return to court. The judge may opt to set bail to ensure that you do return for trial. Finally in situations where the crime was a violent one or where there is a risk the accused will flle, no bail will be set.
Here again, experienced counsel will know what factors are considered by the court in making such a determination, which factors should be highlighted and which ones should be ignored , explained , downgraded or mitigated. Furthermore, an attorney who is involved at this early stage can perform a preliminary investigation to ferret out the weaknesses of the prosecution’s case and incorporate these arguments into any bail application.
What is the Arraignment Process?
Normally, a person arrested for a felony who remains incarcerated after the arraignment has the right to have the case presented to a Grand Jury within six days from their arrest . If no Grand Jury presentation and Indictment is voted within such time period, the person is entitled to be released on his or her own recognizance pending future proceedings .However, some District Attorney Offices (including Queens County) have a policy that once an Indictment is voted , there will be no future plea bargaining and there will be no plea offers to anything less than the top count of the Indictment (which often carries substantially increased or mandatory jail time upon conviction ).
An experienced attorney will be able to properly advise their client whether or not it is strategically sound to waive their 180.80 and speedy trial rights. Many factors enter into such determination such as preserving potential future plea bargaining options, being allowed more time to investigate potential defenses and the weaknesses in the prosecution’s case and/or to negotiate a favorable disposition independent of whether or not their client can post bail (assuming they are not ordered to be released at arraignment), etc. The point is that important decisions need to be considered and made at the time of the arraignment.
If you are facing an arraignment for felony or misdemeanor charges in New York an experienced criminal defense attorney like Victor Knapp, Esq. can protect your rights and freedom. Contact us today at 718-233-3823 or online for your free and confidential consultation.
Details about each step of the NYC arrest process can be found below: