Getting arrested is not something to take lightly, it may affect your whole life in a very negative way. However, understanding what happens during an arrest and booking will help you better navigate the criminal justice system, especially if you have obtained knowledgeable, experienced legal counsel.

Bail is also an important issue that must be considered. The process has recently changed for bail in New York, so it helps to know what to expect.

Here’s what you need to know if you are arrested.

Federal Arrest and Booking Procedures

When an arrest is made in a federal criminal case it is usually after an investigation, sometimes a rather lengthy one. The federal agents likely spent many hours investigating, doing surveillance, talking to witnesses, and reviewing pieces of evidence that eventually added up to enough evidence to get an indictment or prepare a criminal complaint. After a complaint or an indictment is filed in court, the prosecutor will request an arrest warrant, which the Judge will sign.

The warrant has to have very specific information, including the name of the person who will be arrested, the place and time for the arrest, and the crimes that they are charged with.

Federal arrests are not done on a whim. If you have a federal arrest warrant against you it means that most likely the government has spent a great deal of time gathering substantial evidence against you. 

When an arrest warrant is executed and the arrest takes place, it is usually done at the person’s residence, but sometimes it can happen at their place of employment or even somewhere in public or at a friend’s house.

The agents who are executing the warrant will arrive at the place where the accused is, often very early in the morning (5 am), announce themselves, and explain to the person who is being arrested what is happening. They will then read the person their Miranda rights and take the person to the closest federal detention center.

What is Bail?

When a person is arrested for a crime, their bail is the amount that they must post in order to be released from the custody of the police while the case proceeds in court. It can be posted in bond, cash, or property. Its purpose is to ensure that the person who was arrested will return to court when they are ordered to and that they will comply with any requirements such as not traveling out of the city or state. If the person fails to appear on the appointed day or does not comply with the conditions as required by their bail, the court can then keep the bail and arrest the defendant again – this time without the chance to be released before resolution in their case.

Bail Under Federal Law

To be eligible for bail under federal law the Defendant has to convince the court that if released during the pendency of their case, he or she will return to court for further proceedings, meaning they are not a flight risk, and they will not be a danger to the community. A judge will then set conditions of bail/release, which if violated may result in bail being revoked. Usually, to be eligible for bail in a federal criminal case, the defendant must have two or three suretors (guarantors), also known as FRPs or financially responsible persons, who will also sign the bond and post collateral.  

Bail can be denied for several reasons:

  • They are not able to satisfy the conditions for bail
  • The judge determines that public safety can’t be ensured no matter the conditions ordered by the court
  • The judge determines that the defendant is not likely to appear in court at a later date, regardless of any conditions of bail or other restrictions put in place
  • The defendant has been determined to be a flight risk

There are several federal bonds that allow a defendant to be released. A signature bond promises that the defendant will obey all laws while they are on pretrial release and will return to court at the appointed time.

New York Arrest and Booking Procedures

If you are in New York state and are arrested and charged with a violation, misdemeanor, or felony, you will be taken to the precinct to be processed. An arrest may be made after an investigation, or it can be made if an officer catches you in the process of committing a crime.

The most important thing to remember if you are ever arrested is to ask for your attorney immediately. It doesn’t matter if you were allowed to make a phone call or even if the police have yet to read your Miranda rights, the first thing you need to do is ask for an attorney and tell the police that you don’t want to answer any questions.

If you speak with the police about your case, they may act sympathetic to your situation in order to get as much incriminating information as possible. Police officers may also try to intimidate or trick you into talking. However, once you make it very clear that you want an attorney, they are required by law to stop all questioning until your attorney is present.

You should always be courteous and polite but be firm and don’t answer any questions about the charges against you. You can share with the police your name, date of birth, address, and some other biographical information, such as heights, weights, race, etc, but do not answer questions about the alleged crime. Be honest, don’t give a fake name or fake information, but only provide the personal information requested.

When processing at the precinct has been completed you will either be issued a DAT (Desk Appearance Ticker) with a future date to return to court for arraignment or you will be taken from the precinct straight to court for the arraignment. Which option police will utilize will depend on the type of charges and some other factors. If you are not issued a DAT but are brought to court for an arraignment, then the law says you must see a judge within 24 hours after arrest, but in practice, it usually happens faster, 12 to 18 hours. 

During the arraignment you will be informed of the charges, bail will be decided, and the case will be adjourned for further proceedings. If the charge is a felony, you should make sure to get an experienced criminal defense lawyer because you will need to decide on some important things regarding the Grand Jury and other procedures.

Bail Under New York Law

At some point, while they are in police custody, a person from the Criminal Justice Agency (CJA) will interview the defendant and then make a recommendation to the court regarding whether they should have bail set for their case or not. During the meeting with them, the CJA will determine if the person is a flight risk. If so, they will recommend no bail, no release. If they can show that the person is not a flight risk and has ties to the community, they will likely recommend bail.

There are many factors that determine whether a defendant receives bail, goes to jail, or is released on his or her own recognizance. If a person is released on his or her own recognizance or is able to post bail, they will be given a date that they must appear in court. If they fail to appear on that date, the judge will issue a bench warrant for their arrest. If they are not able to post bail, then they will remain detained in jail until the resolution of the case.

What are Miranda Rights?

Miranda rights are a warning to a person who has been arrested. It informs them of their rights during the course of the arrest. It is designed to protect the Fifth Amendment right of the person who has been arrested. The Fifth Amendment right allows a person to refuse to answer questions that may be self-incriminating.

Prior to the arrest or detention police can ask any questions they like as long as the answers they receive are voluntary and the person can stop answering questions at any time and is free to leave. Any answers provided to officers or agents prior to the arrest or detention without the Miranda warning are admissible in court.

The Miranda rights go into effect after police detain a person, and the person is no longer free to leave. Miranda rights are after the arrest but before the police speak with the person about the charges. There are various versions but they all must convey the same information to the person who is being arrested.

The standard version of the Miranda rights:

“You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have a right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you.”

What to do if You are Arrested

If you are arrested, there are several things that you need to do. This will put you in the best position possible to resolve your case and deal with the charges against you.

  • Keep your cool – Getting upset, angry, scared, or panicked won’t help you at all. In fact, it will probably only make things worse for you. Close your mouth, calm yourself down, and do as you are told. If you have a tendency to talk when you are nervous, do whatever you must to keep from talking. Voluntary or spontaneous statements justifying why you committed the crime or anything you did regarding the crime can be used at trial. So, take deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth, focus on your breathing and nothing else – that will help you calm down. But know this: You have the right to ask for an attorney.
  • Do not avoid arrest or resist arrest – First of all, trying to avoid or resist arrest is a futile endeavor. On top of that when you resist arrest or try to evade arrest, you will likely be charged with the crime of resisting arrest, meaning that you just added to your charges. It could cause you to be ineligible for pretrial release or bail. So what does resisting arrest or avoiding arrest look like? Obviously running or trying to get away, but also fighting the officers, trying to prevent them from cuffing you, and refusing to follow their orders.
  • Do not say anything except basic info – If you are arrested, give your name and date of birth, and some other relevant biographical information, but that’s it. In the US an officer or agent who wants to speak with you after arrest must read you your Miranda rights. A key sentence in the Miranda rights is “anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.” That means anything you say, even if it is just to agree with something they said or telling them why you were where you were at the time of your arrest can be used against you in court. It doesn’t matter how kind or helpful the officer seems, don’t say a word.
  • Ask for an attorney right away – Another important sentence in the Miranda rights is “you have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford one, one will be appointed to you.” No matter what the circumstances are, if you are guilty or innocent, have money for an attorney, or don’t have a dime to your name, if you have been arrested, the first words out of your mouth should be to ask for an attorney.

If you are facing an arrest it can be a confusing and even frightening time, especially if you don’t know what to expect. You need the experience and knowledge of a seasoned criminal defense attorney to help ensure your rights are protected throughout the process.

Call The Litvak Law Firm at (718) 989-2908 and schedule your consultation today. Mr. Litvak is committed to giving his clients their best chance in court and he has the stellar track record to prove it. So don’t try to navigate the criminal court system on your own. Call today and get the representation you deserve.