Once you have been arrested, your case is going to be scheduled for an arraignment. At that arraignment, you will be represented by an attorney. In almost all instances, a not guilty plea will be entered on your behalf. In addition, an argument will be made on your behalf regarding whether or not bail should be set, if so, in what amount. The decision will depend on your ties to the community, whether you have prior offenses, and whether you have a job, a family and responsibilities. The main reason for bail is to make sure that people do not flee the jurisdiction of the court. The reasoning is that if you have ties to the community, a job and a family, then you’re less prone to leave.
Once bail is set or you’re released on your own recognizance, it can be paid by you (if you have funds on you) or by a family member. That bail remains in almost all scenarios until the case is disposed of. Once the case is disposed of- either by a plea, a withdrawal by the district attorney’s office or a trial- then the person who paid the bail will show a receipt to the clerk in the court, and within about three to four weeks they will get a check in the amount that they paid.
Once you’re out of jail, there’s usually a period of about one month after the arraignment where your attorney will investigate exactly what happened. We meet in person with our clients in order to determine what happened, who was there, whether or not there were any witnesses, and to get a general sense of the facts and the timeline of the case. Having this information allows us to properly defend you in their initial discussions with the district attorney’s office. Then, depending on whether it’s a misdemeanor or a felony, you can probably expect to go to court once every couple of months until the case is disposed.
Do Most Criminal Cases go to Trial or do They Settle out of Court?
The overwhelming majority of criminal cases end in some form of a plea. In certain instances, trials do occur. In the event that a trial becomes necessary and we don’t get the offer that we think is deserved for our client, we stand ready to take on the time and expense of pursuing justice for our client at trial.
How Does a Prior Arrest Or Conviction Impact a Criminal Case?
The prosecutor in the case will have a copy of your criminal history, which will include any prior convictions. If your prior arrest did not result in a conviction and was sealed, then it may or may not show up on the criminal history that the DA runs. Either way, having a prior arrest or conviction will be taken into consideration by the prosecution when determining what type of plea offer will be made. They will also take into consideration the severity of the prior conviction and whether or not it is related to the current charge.
Are any Alternative Programs Available for First Time Offenders in New York?
Yes, there are alternative programs available for first time offenders in New York. Misdemeanors carry maximum sentences of one year in jail, but defendants could also receive three years of probation or a conditional discharge. A conditional discharge means that the case is over, but the court will monitor you for the next year. If you get re-arrested during that year, then you can be sentenced to up to a year on the original charge, while still having to deal with the new charge. For more minor offenses, we are sometimes able to negotiate a reduction from a misdemeanor to a violation or to an adjournment in contemplation of dismissal (ACD). An ACD means that if you don’t get in trouble for either six months or a year, then the case is dismissed and sealed.
What Qualities Should I Look for When Hiring a Criminal Defense Attorney?
I would recommend looking for a criminal defense attorney who has experience in the specific jurisdiction where your case is pending. You want them to have had broad experience in the criminal defense of all different types of clients, but you also want them to have had specific experience with your type of case in the specific court where the charge was filed. In terms of red flags, I would caution against seeking out the lowest-priced attorney, because they will often fail to provide your case with the time and attention that it deserves.
What Sets You And Your Firm Apart In Handling Criminal Cases?
We have been able to successfully defend all different types of criminal defense clients here in Westchester County. I have been practicing criminal defense for 10 years, and my father has been practicing it for 40 years. We’ve seen a lot of different scenarios from DWI matters to assault, to drug and weapons charges to homicides, so there’s not much that we’re going to come across that we aren’t able to tackle. There are a lot of firms that can’t say the same.
For more information on Process Of Bail After A Criminal Arrest, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (855) 228-7369 today.