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Hearing the words, “you are under arrest,” can be a scary thing to go through. This is especially true if you have not done anything wrong. In the state of New York, you can be arrested if the police feel they have enough cause to believe you committed a crime. However, if you have been placed under arrest, you have the right to counsel and you will want to know what the process entails.
Personal Search and Seizure
When you are being arrested, the first thing the police will do is search you and your property. This could be your car or your home. While they have to have consent to search your property, they are allowed to search you without your consent. This is to ensure their protection. They will do a pat down to make sure you do not have any weapons that will possibly cause them harm. After you are searched, you will be placed into a patrol car and taken to the precinct for the next step.
The processing is a very important step in the arrest process, and one you want to pay attention to. This is when you will have all of the property on you seized and cataloged. You will get a voucher for everything you had on you and it is either kept in a locker or it is logged into evidence. The evidence is what they can and will use against you in the investigation. However, the items logged and kept in a locker, you will get back after you are released.
Following the processing of your belongings, you will have your information gathered, mug shot and fingerprints taken, and then you will be taken into a room for questioning. You will have your rights read to you. These are known as your Miranda Rights and if they are not read, anything you say cannot be used as evidence against you. In addition, this is your chance to say you want a lawyer present before you speak. The questioning will immediately stop until your counsel arrives.
If you have not contacted counsel, you will want it for the arraignment process. This is when the case actually begins. You will get to hear the full charges against you and enter a plea of guilty or not guilty. Whether you are held at the jail or allowed to go home before appearing for arraignment is up to the police, and it is generally made based on past offenses and the crimes charged against you. Once you have entered a plea, the judge will then determine what the bail should be or if you should be released on your own recognizance. This decision is not made by the judge alone, the defense attorney and the prosecution will speak on what they feel is appropriate and why. However, if you have been charged of a felony, you will not actually enter a plea. You will attend a bail hearing and then wait for the Grand Jury. If you cannot make the bail, then the Grand Jury must receive evidence within a week. If they fail to present the evidence in time, you will be released, but this does not mean that the charges are dropped.
Delay of Process
This entire process can be delayed based on your behavior and actions. While you are entitled to a speedy trial, if you withhold evidence or give incorrect information to the police during the processing. You also will need to realize that you are going to be held in jail with several other people all committed of crimes that are of varying degrees of severity. Therefore, if you did not commit the crime, it is best to do what is required so the entire process goes as smoothly and quickly as possible.
It is best to request a lawyer at the first opportunity you are given, so you have someone speaking for you through the majority of the process. The defense attorney will explain to you in detail what the process will entail, and how they can help you keep your rights maintained. They will also be the person you can rely on to keep your family informed on what is going on and what to expect. The process is complicated, but an attorney will help it move along efficiently and you will understand everything that is going on.