When you are arrested in New York City (Manhattan, Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island) and charged with a felony, misdemeanor or violation, the police bring you to a particular precinct where they usually attempt to take a statement. Whether or not you have been advised of your Miranda rights or given an opportunity to make a telephone call, you should inform the police that you want to talk with your lawyer and you do not want to answer any questions. The police may try to intimidate or convince you, but once you make it clear that you wish to speak with an attorney they must stop questioning you. Always be polite, but do not answer any questions regarding the charges.
While in custody, the police will ask you for "pedigree" or personal information. This may happen before, but usually after, they ask you questions about the crime. This information, such as your name, address, and date of birth is information that you can share with the police. Giving them a "John Doe" name will only delay the process of ultimately seeing the judge at your arraignment where you will be informed of the charges and your lawyer will be present. After the police obtain your pedigree information, you will be brought to Central Booking where numerous other precincts will have brought their prisoners. Ultimately, you will be brought to the "Tombs" and the arraignment court. While being held there, you will be with other individuals who are waiting to see the judge as well.
At some point while you are in custody you will meet with someone from the Criminal Justice Agency (CJA) who will make a recommendation to the court as to whether bail should or should not be set in your case. This determination is an assessment of your potential risk of fleeing if you are released. Therefore, it is important to share with these people any ties you have to the community such as how long you resided at an address, whether your residence is in New York, whether your family is in New York and any other relevant information. Although the determination by CJA is not controlling on the court, anything that can show your ties to the community and that you are not a risk of flight will increase the likelihood of lower or no bail.
Unfortunately, the "Tombs," or any cell for that matter, is not a clean, fun place to be. Even more unfortunate is the fact that it is possible that you will be held in custody for up to and even exceeding 24 hours depending on how many people are in the system. If you are waiting for an attorney to be assigned to you by the court, it will not happen until you are in the holding area. Moreover, when you are arraigned, you will be advised as to whether you are charged with a felony, misdemeanor or violation. If you are charged with a felony, there will be decisions that must be made relating to the Grand Jury. That is why you should contact an experienced criminal defense attorney to assist you and your family through the process.
Led by a former prosecutor in the Manhattan District Attorney's Office, we may be able to help move procedures along by informing police and District Attorney's Office that you have counsel. While retaining a private attorney will not automatically move things along, at a minimum, Crotty Saland PC will be able to answer questions you and your family might have, explain the procedures as they are unfolding, and be a liaison between you, your family, and law enforcement in order to make the process move as efficiently as possible.