At Brill Legal Group, P.C., we can explain the arrest process and what we can do to help protect your rights after an arrest. Follow the links to go to a specific question or scroll to review all questions and answers:
- My friend or family member was just arrested. What happens next?
- Should I hire an attorney for the arraignment?
- When will the arraignment take place?
- Where will the arraignment take place?
- What happens if the judge sets bail?
Call us today for a free initial consultation
Suffolk 631-479-2180 — Manhattan 212-233-4141 — Nassau 516-342-5020
Toll free 888-309-8876
My Friend or Family Member Was Just Arrested. What Happens Next?
When your friends or family members call to tell you that they've been arrested, they are already in police custody. They are usually calling from a police precinct.
When you speak to them, you should find out as much information as possible: where they are, what they were arrested for and where they are going to court.
After you hang up with them, you should call a lawyer immediately.
Unfortunately, there's not much else you can do until they go to court to be arraigned.
The first stop after the arrest is the first court appearance, known as the arraignment. This is the first time the accused sees a judge, the first time he or she is formally told what the charges are against him or her. There are no witnesses at the arraignment, just the defendant, the prosecutor, the defense attorney and the judge.
At the arraignment, the prosecutor will usually ask the judge to set bail, often in the thousands of dollars. A skilled defense attorney on the other side can often successfully argue that bail should be much lower, or even get your friend or loved one released without any bail at all.
But the key phrase to pay attention to here is "skilled defense attorney." Since you can't be sure what lawyer, if any, will be assigned by the court to represent your friend or loved one at the arraignment, you have to make sure that someone who knows what he's doing will be there.
Should I Hire an Attorney for the Arraignment?
Yes! In Suffolk County, judges can arraign people on major felonies without an attorney representing them. In Nassau County, the attorneys assigned to the arraignment courts are usually part-time, brand new lawyers. In New York City, the legal aid attorneys assigned to the arraignment courtroom are usually more experienced than that, but with hundreds of cases a day, they may find it difficult to give your friend or loved one's case the attention it deserves.
If the attorney at the arraignment doesn't know what he's doing or can't spend the time required to find out about your friend or loved one's case, how likely is it that he will be able to make a strong argument to the judge for low or no bail?
In other words, how likely is it that you will be seeing your loved one at home that night or at the jail the next day? If the arraignment goes badly, you could be visiting your loved one in jail for months, because after bail is set, it is very hard to get it lowered later on.
If you have the ability to hire an attorney, that attorney should be there at the arraignment, without a doubt.
When Will the Arraignment Take Place?
In Nassau and Suffolk counties, arrest processing can take as little as two hours, so people who are arrested in the morning or late the previous night will often see the judge before noon. Arraignments take place from 9:30 a.m. until the calendar for the day is done, seven days a week, with a break for lunch. This may mean that arraignments will go until 5 p.m., or this may mean that the calendar is done by noon. At some point during each day, the court tells the Police Department to stop sending people over for the day. Anyone who misses the cutoff will be seen the next morning.
In New York City, except for Staten Island, arrest processing can take between 12 and 24 hours, sometimes more. On especially busy days, some people can wait in jail to be arraigned for up to 36 hours. In these circumstances, having an attorney who knows the right places to call to get a case moving can mean the difference between messing up your weekend and missing a day of work. Arraignments run from 9:30 a.m. to 1 a.m., with multiple breaks.
In Staten Island, arraignments after 5 p.m. are either held for the next morning or transferred to Brooklyn when the Targee Street courthouse is closed. Arrest processing can often be much shorter than in the rest of the city. Then again, it might not be.
Where Will the Arraignment Take Place?
Arrests in each county occur in the criminal court in that county, as follows:
|Nassau County:||First District Court, 99 Main Street, Hempstead, N.Y.|
|Suffolk County:||First District Court, 400 Carleton Avenue, Central Islip, N.Y.|
|Queens County:||Queens County Criminal Court, 125-01 Queens Boulevard, Kew Gardens, N.Y.|
|Kings County (Brooklyn):||Kings County Criminal Court, 120 Schermerhorn Street, Brooklyn, N.Y.|
|New York County (Manhattan):||Manhattan Criminal Court, 100 Centre Street, New York, N.Y.|
|Bronx County:||Bronx County Criminal Court, 215 East 161st Street, Bronx, N.Y.|
|Richmond County (Staten Island):||Richmond County Criminal Court, 67 Targee Street, Staten Island, N.Y.|
When you arrive at the courthouse, ask a court officer to direct you to the arraignment part (courtroom), and notify a court officer in the courtroom that you're there for a specific person when you get to the arraignment part.
What happens if the judge sets bail?
First of all, it wouldn't hurt to bring some money to court with you. That way, if the bail is reasonable, you can post the bail at the courthouse and get your friend or loved one released very quickly.
If you don't have enough money with you, you can always go to the bank and come back. However, at certain times throughout the day the defendants who have already been arraigned are shipped out to a jail facility. If you can't get the money in time, this may mean a trip out to Riverhead (for Suffolk arrests), East Meadow (Nassau County), Rikers Island or what we affectionately call "The Barge," the floating jail in the Bronx, to post bail in New York City.
If the judge sets bail you can't afford to post, there will often be a "bond alternative," meaning that you can get a licensed New York State bail bondsman to post a bond for you. This is similar to buying an insurance policy to make sure the defendant comes back to court. You pay the bail bondsman a fee that you won't get back, and then you secure the bond by posting some form of property, often real estate, which you could lose if the defendant doesn't show up when he's supposed to. A bail bond costs a fraction of what the judge sets as cash bail. We recommend Empire Bail Bonds, not because we make any money from referring cases to them (we don't), but because they are honest and fair with our clients.
Call Us Today for a Free Initial Consultation
To speak with an attorney about an arrest in New York, contact us online or call us in Suffolk at 631-479-2180, Manhattan at 212-233-4141 or Nassau at 516-342-5020. You can also call us toll free at 888-309-8876.