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Understanding the arraignment process in New York

Last week we discussed the arrest and booking procedures in New York. In this post, we are going to discuss arraignment proceedings.

Arraignment takes place in court after the arrest and booking procedures. In the arraignment proceedings, the accused will find out what crime he or she is being charged with. A person is allowed to have an attorney at his or her arraignment proceeding. This attorney can be retained by the accused, or one can be appointed to the accused by the court. If a person wants to retain his or her own attorney, but cannot do so before the arraignment occurs, the state will provide the accused with an attorney, at it's own expense.

The prosecutor and the accused's attorney may enter into discussions with regards to settling the case against the accused. If a settlement can be reached, a trial will not be necessary. Plea bargaining can take place at this time, in which the accused can agree to a guilty plea, or the accused can chose to plead not guilty.

If the accused is currently being held in jail during the arraignment proceedings, the prosecutor may request that the accused stay in jail or may order bail. However, it is the judge that determines what the conditions of the accused's bail will be. These conditions can be altered during the course of the case.

If the accused is released from jail after the arraignment proceedings are over, he or she must still be present in court whenever the case is calendared. If a person fails to appear in court, he or she may be arrested and could find that their bail has been forfeited.

Arraignment is only one step in the entire criminal trial process a New City resident may have to face. It is often prudent to do so knowledgeably, so one can have a good idea of the proceedings he or she faces. A criminal defense attorney may be a good source of information.

Source: nycourts.gov, "Criminal Justice System Handbook," Accessed June 15, 2015

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