As all experienced New York criminal defense attorneys know, it is at arraignment where a pre-arraignment detainee finally becomes the criminal defendant in any prosecution by the state. Arguably the most critical proceeding in the American system of criminal justice, arraignment is where the right to counsel – a fundamental right enshrined in both the federal and state constitutions – attaches. After which, the “presence of counsel at each subsequent critical stage of the proceedings” is required. Hurrell-Harring v. State, 15 N.Y.3d 8, 20 (2010). Before this point in the arrest process, an arrestee or pre-arraignment detainee may be held without counsel and there is no requirement that a lawyer be present at any interrogation or interview with law enforcement. Unless of course, a criminal defense lawyer has been explicitly requested or they have “communicated with the police” that you have retained them. People v. Grice, 100 N.Y.2d 318, 321 (2003)
The usual course of being arraigned on a criminal complaint after arrest in New York City is relatively straightforward. After arrest and a period of pre-arraignment detention in a holding cell of the court you will be, finally, brought to an arraignment part of the New York City Criminal Court of the borough or county you were arrested in. Here, prosecutors will read, in open court, the misdemeanor or felony charges they have filed and arguments will be heard by a New York City Criminal Court judge on the issue of bail.
For the first time in the arrest process, both the prosecutor and the defense lawyer, either previously retained or assigned by the court, will be present alongside you. If it is one of our top New York criminal defense lawyers, you will be advised as to the nature of the charges filed, and whether they are a felony, misdemeanor or violation. Additionally, if retained early enough in the process, a more formal bail application may be made including submission of gathered letters from friends or family illustrating your substantial ties to the community and assuring the court of your future attendance at any subsequent proceedings. Additionally, in cases where a misdemeanor or felony complaint has been filed, there may be decisions to be made relating to the often disputed issue of speedy trial under Section 30.30 of New York’s Rules of Criminal Procedure. This is especially true in cases involving any charged felony, as a grand jury presentation may push prosecutors near the end of the statutory clock to declare readiness for trial.
Whatever the offense or offenses charged in your case, the effect of retained counsel both before and at arraignment is substantial. Make sure the New York City arrest process is handled properly by retaining experienced New York criminal defense attorneys as early as possible after arrest. While we cannot guarantee a particular outcome to yours or their case, we can guarantee retaining a lawyer early on in the process will increase the odds of receiving a favorable bail order at arraignment. Call us today at the Law Offices of Jeffrey Lichtman at (212) 581-1001 to schedule a free consultation on how we can help with yours or your loved one’s bail hearing at arraignment.