From Arrest to Trial – The Legal Process in New York.
When a person is suspected of a crime, he or she faces several specific steps that state prosecutors must follow in order for any conviction to be valid. Below is a brief overview of this process, but please contact our attorneys for an individualized explanation of your rights as they exist in New York, beginning with the arrest.
Arrest and Booking
If you find out that an arrest warrant has been issued against you, one option is to voluntarily turn yourself in with your attorney present. When you are arrested involuntarily, what you must remember is that you should not, under any circumstances, attempt to flee or resist this process. Doing so will only make matters worse for your overall interests, so if this occurs, simply cooperate with police and allow them to complete the arrest process. You are not going to change their minds.
Secondly, if you are involuntarily arrested and any questioning commences, remember to exercise your right to remain silent. It’s possible that the investigators will ‘offer you a deal,’ ‘take your cooperation into account,’ etc., in order to provoke a confession from you, but simply exert your right to silence, other than requesting an attorney, of course.
After you are arrested and processed, the ‘legal’ aspect of the case begins. The first step is the filing of an accusatory instrument with the court, which is usually in the form of a criminal complaint. Beyond this filing, the defendant must appear at an arraignment, which is meant to decide the issue of bail.
After bail has been decided, it’s time to work towards a solution to your problem. This almost always begins with plea negotiations, and given the complexity and strategy behind every case that’s negotiated, you need the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney to promote your interests in discussions with the prosecuting attorney.
The final step prior to trial for felonies is the issuance of an indictment that the prosecutor obtains from the grand jury. The grand jury is a citizen-comprised body that decides whether or not a prosecution should continue, and a criminal defense attorney can help prepare witnesses for what to expect during these proceedings.
Motions and Trial
Finally, assuming that an indictment is issued and a trial date is set, you have the right to file motions, mostly relating to evidence, that can allow or disallow certain evidence to be seen, heard or generally considered by the jury. This is enormously important, as the jury will make its decision based on the evidence presented. An experienced trial attorney will be necessary to help you put forth the strongest defense possible. After the motions have been handled, the trial begins, and this is where experience is critical.
Clearly, the information above is an overview, so contact the Blanch Law Firm if you are facing a criminal prosecution to gain an understanding of how this process works.