Queens County Bar Association
Martindale Hubbell - Distinguished 2023

What Happens in the First 24 Hours After an Arrest?

Once you are arrested, one of two things is going to happen. In every case, you are going to the precinct for finger printing, and processing. In some less serious charges, the officer has the right to issue you what is called a Desk Appearance Ticket. This means that, rather than having to wait in custody for up to twenty-four hours to see a judge, you will be sent home with this desk appearance ticket and told to appear in court on a later date for arraignment. Desk appearance tickets (DAT’s) are only issued in relatively minor misdemeanor cases, and, at least in theory, even in a few low-level felony cases.

In the rest of the cases, you are going to be processed, finger printed at the precinct by the officer that arrested you, and then sent to what in Queens County is called central booking. You are held there while the district attorney processes your case. They will wait for the results on your fingerprints to come back from Albany. Meanwhile, you are kept in central booking, transferred from one room to another, and finally, after about twelve to twenty-four hours, you will see a lawyer. Shortly after that, you will be brought in front of a judge for the arraignment. Arraignment means you are notified of the charges and a determination is made as to whether or not you should be released on bail.

Arraignment is often a critical stage of a criminal case. At that point, you will be released either with or without bail, or if you cannot make bail, it is unlikely the amount of bail set at arraignment will ever be lowered. Accordingly, it is extremely important that the lawyer who represents you at arraignment is well prepared and armed with all the favorable information that can influence the judge to set the lowest bail possible.

What Rights Does Someone Have At The Point Where They Are Arrested And Detained?

Initially, when you are taken into custody by law enforcement, you are in their custody. You do not have any rights to leave at this time, until either they determine to release you, or the court does. One of the things that an officer is supposed to do is to inform you of your rights, and the most important of those rights is to tell you that you do not have to make any statements. You have a right to speak with an attorney, and if you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you. This does not sound terribly important to most people, because most people feel like they want to talk, and give their side of the story. The most crucial thing you can do is to forget about what common sense tells you. Your common sense says, “Hey, I want to give my side of the story.” Do not do that.

Do not make any statements regarding your case. You have a right not to talk to any law enforcement officers who may ask you questions. They are likely to make you feel that if you do not speak to them, they’ll think you must be hiding something. It is their job to try to make you feel that way. Do not, under any circumstances, make any statements. Once you have an attorney they cannot question you, so hold off. People typically say “I am happy to talk to you,” but what they should say is, “I want an attorney”. You will be entitled to make a phone call, so your family knows what has happened to you and they should immediately obtain a lawyer for you.

In A DWI Arrest Can I Contact An Attorney Before Making Any Decisions?

The most important issue that arises immediately after a DWI arrest is whether the driver should take a breathalyzer or blood alcohol test. Theoretically, you have a right to consult with an attorney before deciding, but the officer is not obliged to wait until your attorney responds. If you refuse to take the test while waiting for your attorney, the officer will deem that you have refused to take it. Assuming that you can’t immediately get legal advice, most drivers (for reasons discussed elsewhere on this site) are best advised to take the alcohol test.

What Does Someone Leave The Jail With In Terms Of Paperwork?

When you appear in front of the judge and assuming whether you get out of jail at that point or not, the judge is going to inform you of the next date that you have to appear in court. It will be a different court than the one that you were arraigned in. The only paperwork that they will give you is a small sheet of paper telling you when and where you have to go next time, and, if it is a case involving a civilian complainant, there will usually be an order of protection. This keeps you from having any contact with that person.

Other than that, they will not tell you anything, and if you have not done so already, you should be in contact with an attorney. A qualified attorney will get copies of all the court papers, and explain them to you in detail.

For more information on Aftermath Of An Arrest, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (718) 793-5700 today.

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