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New York Criminal Arraignment Frequently Asked Questions

What happens during arraignment?

If you are arrested, the first time that you appear in court is at a brief proceeding called an arraignment. The arraignment is not your criminal trial. During arraignment the prosecutor will present the judge with a criminal complaint that will state the charge or charges against you. The prosecutor will prepare the criminal complaint based on evidence gathered by the police as well as your criminal history. The charges may be quite different from what you expect. It is important that you have a New York criminal arraignment lawyer at your arraignment, as several important issues are addressed such as your initial plea and bail.

Will I get bail?

Bail is addressed during arraignment. The judge has the option of releasing you on your own recognizance (ROR), setting a bail amount, or requiring that you be held without bail. The prosecutor will typically argue for no bail or high bail, while you will argue for no bail or low bail. Ultimately, the judge will make the decision based on a variety of factors such as the seriousness of the charge, the evidence against you, your ties to the community, your criminal record, your history of showing up for court appearances, and other factors that will help the judge determine whether or not you are a flight risk.

ROR is typically reserved in cases where the charge is a misdemeanor or a low level felony, or in cases where the defendant has no criminal record. Regardless of whether or not you are required to post bail, if you are released you are required to return to court of each hearing and for each day of your trial.

What is a bench warrant?

As your New York criminal arraignment lawyer will explain, if you are released after your arraignment on ROR or because you posted bail, you are required to return to court for each hearing and for your trial. If you fail to do so, then the judge will issue a bench warrant for your arrest. While the police may not go out looking for you, any time that you come in contact with law enforcement such as at a traffic stop, you will be subject to immediate arrest. In addition, failing to show for court may subject you to additional criminal charges, may cause the judge to set higher bail or to revoke bail, and may put any bail posted at risk.

What happens after arraignment?

After arraignment there are number directions a criminal case can proceed, and your criminal arraignment attorney in New York will represent you throughout the entire process. If the charge is a misdemeanor, then there will be motions and hearings. If no agreement to plead guilty is reached, then the case will eventually go to trial and to verdict.

If the charge is a felony, then the case will go to grand jury. If the grand jury indicts, then there will be a Supreme Court arraignment, followed by a series of motions and hearings. If the defendant does not plead guilty along the way, then the case will ultimately go to trial and to verdict.

Still have questions? Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates for help

If you are a loved one is suspected of committing a crime, it is best to have representation by an experienced criminal arraignment attorney familiar with the New York criminal system as early in the case as possible. The earlier an attorney is involved the more likely you will receive a favorable resolution to your case. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates have years of experience successfully defending clients in New York criminal courts who have been charged with both felonies and misdemeanors. Contact us at 800.696.9529 to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We serve those accused of crimes in the following locations: the Bronx, Brooklyn, Long Island, Manhattan, Nassau County, Queens, Staten Island, Suffolk County and Westchester County.

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