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.
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