Frequently Asked Questions
Common Questions About Criminal Charges in Westchester, White Plains, & New York
If you have been arrested, it is likely that you have many questions about how your case will develop and what impact the case will have on you going forward. To alleviate some of the concerns you have, you should make an appointment to speak with an attorney who has the experience and the interest to meet with you and engage in a detailed discussion about your case. To help alleviate your stress, it is important to understand what happens after an arrest, what your rights are and ultimately to retain a criminal defense lawyer in Westchester. The Law Offices of John Raimondo, P.C. is here to answer the questions you have and to instill the confidence that you will need to proceed with the proper defense of your case.
If you cannot find the answers below, we welcome you to call our firm for a free consult: (914) 996-4511.
What should I tell the officer during an investigation or after an arrest?
If you have been arrested or are being investigated, you should not answer any questions put to you by a police officer, or for that matter, any third-party. Rather, you should politely convey that you do not intend to answer any questions, and that instead, you want to speak with your attorney. No matter what promises are made, you should continue in your position that you do not intend to answer any questions. While there are times it may be tempting to convey your version of the facts surrounding the investigation, the temptation should be resisted. Often times, what you may believe is a version of facts which is in your favor, is harmful to your defense and substantially reduces the probability of a favorable outcome in defending your case.
What Happens at Arraignment?
The arraignment is the technical process by which the defendant learns what charges he or she is facing. In most cases, the defense attorney will waive a public reading of the charges; meaning the attorney will simply receive a copy of the paper charges which have been filed, but the Court will not formally read the exact allegations into the record in open Court. Depending on whether the charges are misdemeanor charges or felony charges, the defense attorney will enter a formal not-guilty plea (in the case of a misdemeanor) or in the case of a felony (unless the defendant has already been indicted), simply waive a formal reading of the charges. Also, in many cases, the prosecution will request that an amount of bail be set; the purpose of bail is supposed to be to ensure the defendant’s return to Court. The defense attorney will also present arguments about bail, including that the defendant should ether be released without bail, or in some cases, suggest an amount of bail be set which is appropriate under the circumstances.
What is Plea Bargaining?
In the course of defending almost every criminal matter, there are discussions between the defense attorney and the Office of the District Attorney about attempting to resolve the pending matter without a trial. Of course, in some instances, the defendant and the defense attorney request a trial from the onset and are unwilling to engage in any negotiations about a potential plea. During the plea process, the prosecution typically makes an offer of a reduced charge with some punishment that is less than the punishment they would seek after trial. The defendant then, typically considers the offer with the guidance of their defense attorney, and determines whether to offer a counter-proposal, simply to outright reject the offer or to avail themselves to the offer. Often times, the Judge is also involved in the process and conferences the case with the attorneys in an effort to assist in a resolution. There are also instances where the defendant attempts to negotiate a resolution directly with the Court; these are typically cases where the District Attorney is holding the defendant to the top charge and therefore, the defendant seeks to negotiate a more lenient punishment directly with the Court.
We welcome you to call (914) 996-4511 for a free consultation. We are prepared to help.