Criminal Procedure in New York
Part One: The Arrest, What to Expect
It may have been the result of a traffic stop or someone calling the police to your home, but you’ve found yourself under arrest and in the control of the police. You are probably nervous, frightened and worried all at the same time. Those are common feelings. You don’t know what to do, you don’t know what to expect, and you don’t know how to best help yourself. It is important to remain calm because what you do and say next can have dramatic consequences in your criminal case.
To an extent, there is every reason to cooperate and to be courteous to the police. Being difficult, yelling, screaming and flailing yourself about will do you absolutely no good and if your actions are severe enough can lead to additional charges or may otherwise be used as evidence against you. Be courteous and polite. When the police ask you for basic information – your name, your address, your birthday – you should comply. The police are entitled to so-called “pedigree,” or biographical information.
When you are arrested it is vitally important to remember that you have constitutional rights. You may be certain you are innocent or may be convinced the police are otherwise making a mistake. And you may be innocent and the police may be completely wrong, however, once you are arrested there is almost nothing you can say or do that is going to change their minds and lead to your release. In fact, talking about the circumstances surrounding your arrest can be incriminating and harmful to your case.
Without realizing it, you may be providing law enforcement with information that can be used against you in court or in future investigations.
That is why it is important that when you are arrested and the police want to speak to you about your case you exercise your rights and respectfully decline to answer questions. Politely tell the police you want an attorney before answering any questions. It is your right to do so and under the law, once you do so the police must stop all questioning. If you are already represented by a lawyer, you should tell the police and request ask them to notify your lawyer about your arrest.
After being arrested and processed you will either be held for an arraignment the following day or be released on what is known as a Desk Appearance Ticket or “D.A.T.” What to expect at your arraignment will be discussed in more detail in Part Two of our Criminal Procedure in New York Series.
The Long Island Criminal Defense Attorney’s at Schalk, Ciaccio, and Kahn, P.C., are all former prosecutors with years of experiences handling all types of criminal offenses from Assault to DWI to Murder. Our lawyers are available 24 hours a day at 516-858-1266 to be there for you when you or a loved one is in police custody and needs to protect their rights.