Facing a criminal charge in New York can be terrifying. In addition to understanding the charges against you, and preparing a strong defense, it is natural to be confused about the criminal process itself. It typically involves many different steps and unfamiliar legal terms, and if you’ve never been involved in the criminal system before, you are likely to be confused their impact on your overall case.
When you are arrested, you should be read your Miranda rights. Your Miranda rights include the right to remain silent. Staying quiet and not saying anything to the police is essential at this point. The only thing that you should say to the police is that you are requesting a lawyer or would like to speak to your attorney. Other than that, say absolutely nothing.
An arraignment is the first hearing after your arrest
After your arrest, you will be scheduled for something called an arraignment. This is a hearing in front of a judge. At the arraignment hearing, the judge will tell you the exact crimes that you are being charged with. You have additional rights at this point, and the judge must explain them to you.
These rights include the right to have an attorney appointed, if you tell the judge that you cannot afford an attorney. The judge must also tell you that you have a right to have a trial on the charges. These rights are absolute, and if any of these rights are not explained, you may have grounds for dismissal of the charges.
Having a lawyer at an arraignment is crucial
Although the judge tells you that you have a right to a lawyer at an arraignment, it is best to have one at the arraignment with you already. A lawyer can help advise you on the charges you are facing and potential penalties.
When the judge has finished explaining your rights to you at your arraignment, you must enter a plea of guilty or not guilty. Another good reason to have a lawyer at your arraignment is that your lawyer can talk to the prosecutor before your plea and try to settle the case.
Being charged with a crime is many people’s worst fear, but defense strategies can be explored and developed with the help of an experienced criminal attorney. Criminal lawyers can help obtain the best possible outcome, no matter the situation.