Criminal Defense • Disciplinary Investigations & Hearings

My Friend or Family Member Was Just Arrested. What Happens Next?

What Happens After Being Arrested?

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.

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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.