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What Happens at a Brooklyn Criminal Court Arraignment

What Happens at a Brooklyn Criminal Court Arraignment

When someone is arrested in Brooklyn on a criminal charge, they are typically taken first to central booking and then for their arraignment at the local criminal court. Arraignment is an important first step in the criminal justice process where the charges are formally read to the defendant and they are asked to enter a plea of guilty or not guilty.

The Booking Process

After an arrest, the defendant is taken to central booking to be photographed, fingerprinted, and for their personal information to be entered into the system. This process can take several hours depending on how busy central booking is. The defendant has the right to make a phone call to contact a lawyer or arrange for bail during this time.

Getting to Arraignment

Once booking procedures are complete, the defendant will be taken from central booking to the arraignment part of Brooklyn Criminal Court, located at 120 Schermerhorn Street. The arraignment typically happens within 24 hours of the arrest for people held in custody. Those given desk appearance tickets may have their arraignment scheduled weeks later.

At the Arraignment

During the arraignment, the charges against the defendant will be formally read by the judge or magistrate. Its at this time the defendant learns exactly what they have been charged with under the New York criminal statutes. The judge advises the defendant of their rights and asks them to enter a plea of guilty or not guilty. Other key things that happen at arraignment are:

  • The prosecutor makes a bail recommendation
  • The defense attorney argues for release or lower bail
  • The judge decides on bail terms and conditions of release
  • A temporary order of protection may be issued
  • Discovery demands are served on the prosecutor

Bail Arguments

One of the most critical parts of arraignment is when bail arguments are made. The prosecutor will recommend bail terms to the judge based on the charges and defendants criminal history. They may ask for cash bail or bond to be set. The defense will then argue for the defendants release either on their own recognizance or on lower bail terms that are affordable. Factors like how bail gets set in New York include:

  • Severity of charges
  • Defendants criminal record
  • History of missing court dates
  • Ties to family, employment, and community

Bail reform laws passed in 2020 limit cash bail for many non-violent felony and misdemeanor charges. However, judges still have discretion to set bail in cases they believe the defendant poses a risk of flight or danger to the community.

Making a Plea

After hearing the charges and bail arguments, the judge will ask for the defendants “plea”. This is their chance to say if they are guilty or not guilty. Importantly, the plea entered at arraignment is not set in stone. The defendant can change their plea at a later court date as their case progresses. Reasons someone may choose to plead guilty at arraignment is to take advantage of a plea bargain or if they want to take responsibility quickly. However, in more serious and complex cases its recommended the defendant plead “not guilty” at this early stage to preserve their rights and allow their defense lawyer time to review evidence and prepare defense strategies.

Christine Twomey
Christine Twomey
2024-03-21
Just had my Divorce case settled 2 months ago after having a horrible experience with another firm. I couldn’t be happier with Claire Banks and Elizabeth Garvey with their outstanding professionalism in doing so with Spodek Law Group. Any time I needed questions answered they were always prompt in doing so with all my uncertainties after 30 yrs of marriage.I feel from the bottom of my heart you will NOT be disappointed with either one. Thanks a million.
Brendan huisman
Brendan huisman
2024-03-18
Alex Zhik contacted me almost immediately when I reached out to Spodek for a consultation and was able to effectively communicate the path forward/consequences of my legal issue. I immediately agreed to hire Alex for his services and did not regret my choice. He was able to cover my case in court (with 1 day notice) and not only was he able to push my case down, he carefully negotiated a dismissal of the charge altogether. I highly recommend Spodek, and more specifically, Alex Zhik for all of your legal issues. Thanks guys!
Guerline Menard
Guerline Menard
2024-03-18
Thanks again Spodek law firm, particularly Esq Claire Banks who stood right there with us up to the finish line. Attached photos taken right outside of the court building and the smile on our faces represented victory, a breath of fresh air and satisfaction. We are very happy that this is over and we can move on with our lives. Thanks Spodek law 🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙌🏼❤️
Keisha Parris
Keisha Parris
2024-03-15
Believe every single review here about Alex Z!! From our initial consultation, it was evident that Alex possessed a profound understanding of criminal law and a fierce dedication to his clients rights. Throughout the entirety of my case, Alex exhibited unparalleled professionalism and unwavering commitment. What sets Alex apart is not only his legal expertise but also his genuine compassion for his clients. He took the time to thoroughly explain my case, alleviating any concerns I had along the way. His exact words were “I’m not worried about it”. His unwavering support and guidance were invaluable throughout the entire process. I am immensely grateful for Alex's exceptional legal representation and wholeheartedly recommend his services to anyone in need of a skilled criminal defense attorney. Alex Z is not just a lawyer; he is a beacon of hope for those navigating the complexities of the legal system. If you find yourself in need of a dedicated and competent legal advocate, look no further than Alex Z.
Taïko Beauty
Taïko Beauty
2024-03-15
I don’t know where to start, I can write a novel about this firm, but one thing I will say is that having my best interest was their main priority since the beginning of my case which was back in Winter 2019. Miss Claire Banks, one of the best Attorneys in the firm represented me very well and was very professional, respectful, and truthful. Not once did she leave me in the dark, in fact she presented all options and routes that could possibly be considered for my case and she reinsured me that no matter what I decided to do, her and the team will have my back and that’s exactly what happened. Not only will I be liberated from this case, also, I will enjoy my freedom and continue to be a mother to my first born son and will have no restrictions with accomplishing my goals in life. Now that’s what I call victory!! I thank the Lord, My mother, Claire, and the Spodek team for standing by me and fighting with me. Words can’t describe how grateful I am to have the opportunity to work with this team. I’m very satisfied, very pleased with their performance, their hard work, and their diligence. Thank you team!
Anthony Williams
Anthony Williams
2024-03-12
Hey, how you guys doing? Good afternoon my name is Anthony Williams I just want to give a great shout out to the team of. Spodek law group. It is such a honor to use them and to use their assistance through this whole case from start to finish. They did everything that they said they was gonna do and if it ever comes down to it, if I ever have to use them again, hands-down they will be the first law office at the top of my list, thank you guys so much. It was a pleasure having you guys by my side so if you guys ever need them, do not hesitate to pick up the phone and give them a call.
Loveth Okpedo
Loveth Okpedo
2024-03-12
Very professional, very transparent, over all a great experience
Bee L
Bee L
2024-02-28
Amazing experience with Spodek! Very professional lawyers who take your case seriously. They treated me with respect, were always available, and answered any and all questions. They were able to help me very successfully and removed a huge stress. Highly recommend.
divesh patel
divesh patel
2024-02-24
I can't recommend Alex Zhik and Spodek Law Firm highly enough for their exceptional legal representation and personal mentorship. From the moment I engaged their services in October 2022, Alex took the time to understand my case thoroughly and provided guidance every step of the way. Alex's dedication to my case went above and beyond my expectations. His expertise, attention to detail, and commitment to achieving the best possible outcome were evident throughout the entire process. He took the time to mentor me, ensuring I understood the legal complexities involved to make informed decisions. Alex is the kind of guy you would want to have a beer with and has made a meaningful impact on me. I also want to acknowledge Todd Spodek, the leader of the firm, who played a crucial role in my case. His leadership and support bolstered the efforts of Alex, and his involvement highlighted the firm's commitment to excellence. Thanks to Alex Zhik and Todd Spodek, I achieved the outcome I desired, and I am incredibly grateful for their professionalism, expertise, and genuine care. If you're in need of legal representation, look no further than this outstanding team.

After the Arraignment

Once the arraignment is complete, a few things happen next:

  • If bail is posted, the defendant is released
  • If no bail is set, they are released on their own recognizance
  • If they cannot afford bail, they are taken to jail to await the next court date
  • The defense attorney will begin investigating the case and prosecutors evidence
  • Further plea negotiations and case conferences happen at the next court date a few weeks later

The arraignment marks the start of the long process in fighting a Brooklyn criminal case. Having an experienced Brooklyn criminal defense lawyer by your side during the arraignment can impact the entire trajectory of the case. They will advocate for pre-trial release, begin demanding discovery documents, negotiate with prosecutors, and start building a defense strategy customized to the charges and evidence.

Why the Arraignment Matters

While many see arraignment as just a short formal court appearance, it actually sets the tone for the entire case. The actions taken and decisions made at this early stage can change the course of a case and its potential outcomes down the road. That’s why working with a skilled NYC defense lawyer from the moment you are arrested is so important.

Some key reasons why arraignment matters include:

  • Bail decisions impact pre-trial freedom or jail detention
  • Early plea negotiations can lead to reduced charges or dismissals
  • Prompt demands for evidence discovery allow more time to analyze the prosecutors case
  • Identifying legal issues like unconstitutional searches, Miranda rights violations, unreliable witnesses, or weak forensic evidence that can lead to suppressed evidence or dismissed charges

While what happens at arraignments follows a fairly standard format, each case has its own set of charges, evidence, legal priorities, and defense considerations. This is why connecting with an experienced Brooklyn criminal lawyer immediately after your arrest is so important.

Finding the Right Lawyer for Arraignment

Navigating the New York criminal justice system can be intimidating and confusing. But you don’t have to go it alone. The skilled NYC defense attorneys have successfully guided thousands of clients through the arraignment process and achieved positive results in tough cases. Here are some tips on finding the right lawyer:

  • Look for a lawyer with extensive experience handling arraignments and cases just like yours
  • Understand the lawyers track record taking cases like yours to trial and winning
  • Find someone who is responsive, makes you feel comfortable, and answers all your questions
  • Select a law firm with resources to thoroughly investigate your case
  • Make sure they have a 24/7 emergency hotline so you can reach them immediately after arrest

The stakes are high when dealing with criminal charges in Brooklyn. But the skilled defense lawyers at have the experience, resources, and determination to protect your rights, freedom, and future.

We represent clients facing all types of charges in Brooklyn and greater NYC including assault, drug crimes, weapons possession, robbery, burglary, sex crimes, vehicular crimes, domestic violence, and homicide. Our Brooklyn criminal defense attorneys are here 24/7 to take your call and apply our experience toward achieving the best possible outcome in your case.

Resources

For more information check out the following links:

This article covered what happens during a criminal court arraignment in Brooklyn, the importance of early legal representation by an experienced defense lawyer, bail considerations, plea options, and finding the right attorney to advocate for you. Reach out for a free consultation if you or a loved one are facing criminal charges in NYC.

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