Domestic Violence Arrest Process in New York
While all arrests technically require the same process from the time of arrest through an arraignment when you first see a judge, investigations and arrests for New York Domestic Violence crimes are slightly different. As a preliminary matter, it is imperative to remember that you always have right to counsel and to request a criminal lawyer or New York Domestic Violence attorney. Exercising this right, along one’s your right to remain silent, is something one should consider sooner rather than later. In fact, either retaining a criminal lawyer or having your family do the same on your behalf should be done at the earliest possible stage in the arrest process.
Upon being arrested, the police will have the complainant (the party – husband, wife, boyfriend, etc. – who is the alleged victim) fill out a Domestic Incident Report or DIR. Although there is no requirement to sign such a document, the police or a detective will attempt to outline in relatively brief terms what occurred. The complainant may be asked to draft it in his or her own words or the police may draft it and ask the complainant to sign the DIR. DIRs are also used when the police don’t make an arrest, but investigate and speak with the parties.
Just as a defendant always has the right to counsel, the complainant can ask for an attorney as well. At no time can the police or prosecutors force a complainant to cooperate, make a statement or sign a DIR. Even more concerning, once you make this or any statement, especially in writing, it is difficult to deviate from what was initially said even if the first statement is not accurate.
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Whether you sign it or not, the DIR will be kept on file for prosecutors and police officers to review. In the event there are prior domestic incident reports, it is likely that an Assistant District Attorney will advise the court of these altercations in an attempt to secure bail.
Within a couple of hours of being printed, detectives or police officers will likely take you to meet with an Assistant District Attorney if you have not asked for a criminal attorney. If you do meet with the prosecutor and make a statement (remember, you always have the right to counsel and law enforcement is generally not seeking to assist your defense, but to bolster their evidence), it is likely that Miranda Rights as well as the conversation will be recorded in some capacity. Ultimately, the prosecutors in New York City will draft the complaint. Keep in mind they can deviate from the initial arrest charges set forth by the police.
In New York City, you will ultimately be sent to Central Booking or the “tombs” where you will wait to see a judge. This waiting period can be as long as twenty-four hours. This length of time highlights why hiring a New York criminal lawyer may be essential to your case. If you do not hire a criminal attorney, hours will be wasted where you could secure evidence, lock witnesses into testimony or at least begin locating monies for bail. Even more important, it may be that the police jumped to the wrong conclusion when arresting you and the alleged victim is cooperating with your lawyer to have the case dismissed or order of protection limited. Without counsel, he or she will not know where or how to initiate this meeting.
Whether you are in custody for twenty-four hours or your counsel successfully moves the process along more quickly, you will ultimately see a judge. At that point you will be formally charged with a crime or multiple offenses. Prosecutors will tell the court about your statement, the allegations and whether or not there are prior DIRs. A bail request will then be made and your counsel will respond and seek your release. If bail is set, you will either be sent back to the “tombs” or to Rikers Island where you will wait until bail is posted. Again, if you hired a Domestic Violence lawyer he or she can do his or her best to ensure the person posting bail is present. In such a case you will be released directly from court.
Merely a snapshot into the Domestic Violence arrest process, there are countless variables that may impact your case. Start off from a place of strength. Identify your best defense and implement that defense as early as possible. Contact the New York criminal lawyers and former New York County Assistant District Attorneys at Saland Law to protect your liberty and preserve your future.
Call the New York criminal defense attorneys and former Manhattan domestic violence prosecutors at (212) 312-7129 or contact us online today