Criminal Process

New York's criminal court system can be complex and overwhelming. The criminal process for New York tends to follow the same pattern. However, each case is different and various scenarios may arise during court procedures. A person who is criminally charged should be informed and aware of what could happen next.

When you are charged with a crime, you have the right to a fair and speedy trial. New York does provide legal options and a chance to defend yourself if you are accused of a crime. The legal process can be difficult, but there are multiple strategies and tactics that can be used to obtain the outcome you desire.

 It is highly recommended that you equip yourself with an experienced criminal defense attorney if you are awaiting a court date.

Attorney for the New York Criminal Process in Queens, NYC

Law enforcement and District Attorney’s Office are required to follow certain procedures in New York's criminal courts. It is important to be aware of what can happen next when it involves your criminal case. If you have been criminally charged, it is within your right to obtain legal representation.

Law Office represents those who are accused of committing crimes throughout the New York City area. Our attorneys are always searching for new legal options to use in each client's cases. We understand that the legal process can be incredibly overwhelming. That is why we want to do everything in our power to help you every step of the way.

Attorney Rochelle S. Berliner has over 27 years of experience in criminal law. She spent 14 of those years as a prosecutor at the District Attorney's Office. Rochelle S. Berliner has the insight into prosecutor tactics and can anticipate their next move. Find an attorney who can stay ahead of the District Attorney.

Law Office practices law throughout Queens County as well as Brooklyn, The Bronx, and Manhattan, Nassau and Suffolk.

Contact the attorneys at Law Office by , or simply submit an online contact form for a free consultation today.

Overview for Criminal Process in New York

New York Arrest & Booking

An arrest for a crime can happen at or near the scene of the alleged offense, at a precinct, at your home, or on the street soon or even long after the incident.  Law enforcement can enter your home with an “arrest warrant,” but cannot arrest you in your home without one.  If you are arrested, it’s critical that you stay silent and make absolutely no statements to the police. You should ask for an attorney and do not let the police try to convince you that you do not need a lawyer.  You do.

After the arrest, you will either be “booked” and taken through the “system,” or, in certain situations with certain offenses, the police will give you a “Desk Appearance Ticket” with a date to appear in court. At the precinct, you will be photographed, fingerprinted and checked for outstanding warrants, after which you will either be given the Desk Appearance Ticket or will be taken to Central Booking for the charges to be docketed into the system.  In Central Booking you will be photographed, your iris will be scanned and you will be interviewed by the Criminal Justice Agency in order for it to make a bail status recommendation to the judge. 

Arraignment in New York

An arraignment is your first opportunity to be seen by the judge.  You will learn what you were charged with, you will plead “guilty” or “not guilty” and the judge will either set bail, remand you without bail (only in the most serious cases) or release you. 

An arraignment is a pivotal time in a criminal case. If you have an experienced criminal defense attorney, he or she can be present at your arraignment. A skilled defense attorney can argue to reduce or even possibly eliminate any bail. Additionally, an attorney can assess what the judge thinks of your case and use that information for the future.

New York Bail Hearings

Bail hearings are generally held at the time of the arraignment. In New York, the judge decides whether to set bail and the amount. Bail is determined by New York's Criminal Procedure Law § 510.30. The judge considers several factors in determining bail, including:

Elements that determine a defendant's bail include:

  • Criminal record or lack thereof;
  • Any juvenile or youthful offender adjudications;
  • Whether the case is considered to be domestic violence;
  • Whether the charge is violent or non-violent;
  • Whether you have a bench warrant history (failing to return to court when required);
  • The seriousness or strength of the case;
  • The potential sentence upon conviction;
  • Your ties to the community;
  • Your Employment and financial resources; and
  • Your character, reputation, mental health, and habits.

During the bail hearing, the prosecutor and the defense attorney are given the opportunity to argue the bail. This is another reason that you or your family members retain a defense attorney. If you have an upcoming bail hearing, an experienced criminal defense attorney can help you formulate a strong case. 

Pre-Trial Motions & Hearings in New York

If the case does not end at arraignment, another court date will be set for further proceedings. Within 45 days of the arraignment, the defense will have the ability to file any motions regarding pre-trial issues. A motion can cover a wide variety of things. It can include motions that attempt to dismissal the case entirely, suppress statements, suppress evidence, or other matters that can set the stage before trial.

For instance, physical evidence, such as controlled substances, can be suppressed if the search and seizure of the items are considered improper. This is why it is so incredibly important that you obtain legal representation if you have an upcoming criminal court case. A qualified criminal defense attorney can identify and file motions for you and represent you at pre-trial hearings to litigate those issues

Trial Proceedings in Queens, New York

Once the pre-trial proceedings have ended, you case will proceed to trial if is not resolved by a guilty plea or by a dismissal. There are two types of criminal trials - jury trials made up of 6 people in a misdemeanor trial and 12 people in a felony trial or bench trials in which the law as well as the facts are decide3d by only a judge  There are two exceptions in New York City - if the offense is either  a Class “B” misdemeanor or a Violation, where the maximum sentence is not more than six months, the case must be decided by a judge in a bench trial.

The District Attorney will have the burden to prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. It is considered the highest burden in the U.S. criminal justice system.  Because of this, a prosecutor has the first word and the last word in a criminal trial.  In short, after selecting a jury, the prosecutor will make an opening statement and the defense attorney has the option of making an opening statement.  Next, the judge and jury will hear from witnesses; the prosecutor will ask the witnesses questions and the defense attorneys will cross-examine them.  Once the prosecutor presents all of his/her witnesses, he/she will “rest,” which means the prosecutor has completed presenting the case. 

At that point, the defense can present witnesses and the accused can testify on his/her own behalf, but has no obligation to present any witnesses or any evidence at all at the trial.  The burden of proof always remains with the prosecutor.  At the end of all the testimony, the defense attorney makes a closing statement, called a “summation,” and then the prosecutor gives a closing statement.  The judge then instructs the jury on the law and the jury begins deliberating on the charges until they either reach a verdict or inform the judge that they are deadlocked and cannot agree unanimously on a verdict. 

If the jury finds you guilty, you will get a date to return for sentencing.

If the jury finds you not guilty, your case will be dismissed and the records sealed.

A trial can take various twists and turns, so it is important that you stay prepared with a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney. A defense attorney can advise you during trial proceedings, present opening and closing arguments, collect and show evidence, and cross-examine any witnesses.

Appeal Process in New York

You have the right to appeal a conviction if you do not waive that right as part of a plea deal.  An appeal goes to a higher court called the Appellate Division.  You can appeal a conviction if you believe that a "legal error" happened during the trial. Even those who plead guilty may appeal to a higher court, but there are restrictions.

If the first appeal is unsuccessful,you can seek to have the case heard by the New York Court of Appeals. This is the highest appellate court in the state. Any decision from the Court of Appeals is a binding authority on all lower courts. Criminal appeals can make their way to federal courts and even the United States Supreme Court if the appeal is based on a question of federal or constitutional law.

Additional Resources

Basic Steps in a Criminal Case – Visit the official website for the New York State Unified Court System. Here you can access information about the steps in a criminal case. Read more regarding arraignment, pre-trial, trial, and sentencing. Find resources for bail, the differing types of criminal cases, and how a criminal record is sealed.

Criminal Justice Process – Visit the official website for the New York Police Department (NYPD). See more on the criminal process in New York courts. See the different NYPD agencies that may be involved during your trial, the five major New York courts that have criminal jurisdiction, and more regarding the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision.

New York Criminal Procedure Law § 510.30 – Visit the official website to acess New York Penal and Criminal Procedure Laws and regulations and you can access the law regarding bail.

Queens Lawyers for Criminal Process & Trial in NY

New York's legal system can be intimidating. The procedures, documents, and laws can be difficult to process. You must be aware of every possible step if you are charged with a criminal offense. If you or someone you know has been charged with a criminal offense, it is in your best interest to obtain a criminal defense attorney.

The attorneys at Law Office have extensive experience in New York's criminal courts. We are passionate about criminal defense, and will do whatever is possible to obtain favorable results for your case. Our attorneys have the resources and the knowledge to cast any doubt in the prosecution's case.

Gain an attorney who is reputable among the legal community. Rochelle S. Berliner, Law Office managing attorney, is a member of several associations such as the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL), and the New York State Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NYSACDL).

Explore your legal options today. Law Office defends those accused of crimes throughout Queens, Manhattan, Brooklyn, The Bronx, Nassau and Suffolk.

Call us today at , or submit an online contact form to speak to an attorney today.

This article was last updated on November 2, 2018.