When a person has been charged with criminal charges, the following procedures can be overwhelming for not only the person charged but their family as well. Having handled hundreds, if not thousands of criminal cases our experienced team of New York criminal attorneys are here to help you with each step in the process to not only ease the process but make sure that the charges are handled properly from the beginning.
Following the filing of criminal charges, the person whom the charges are against must be brought to the court in which the charges appear for an arraignment. As the rules surrounding bail have changed recently, the procedures for arraignments have also changed. For more information on the changes in bail requirements, please see our article discussing them. The person accused must appear in person in court, but they are allowed legal representation with them at the time of this appearance. If the accused does not appear for their scheduled arraignment, further criminal sanctions can be ordered by the court for refusing to appear.
It is important to know your rights when you have been charged and are expected to appear for arraignment. The changing rules surrounding bail in New York have led to an increase in the use of desk appearance tickets being issued instead of an arrest. Please see our page on desk appearance tickets for more specific information, but in general the accused will be given a summons with a date in which they are to appear in the specified court and for what they have been charged with. As a general guideline, courts have the ability to set the appearance date for a few days up to a month after the incident occurred.
This extra time between receiving the summons and having to appear for arraignment allow the accused to seek legal representation to make sure their case is handled properly and that they understand what they are being charged with. On the date given, the accused must appear and formally plead in front of the court either guilty or not guilty. During the arraignment, the accused is not expected to present any evidence or witnesses in support of their plea, instead it is the first formal court appearance acknowledging the charges before a judge. Once the plea has been entered into the court, the judge decides weather the accused can be released pending their next court date on assurance that they will appear or if bail is to be set.
It is highly encouraged that you contact our office prior to your set appearance date so that one of attorneys will be with you during the arraignment to advocate on your behalf in the court. Once the plea has been entered and the matter of bail has been decided, the judge will assign the date for the next court appearance and our office will also have the information of the assigned prosecutor so that the next steps to deal with the charges can be taken prior to the next conference.