What to Do After an Arrest
Criminal Defense Lawyer in White Plains
"I've been arrested-I need your help..." Your phone rings. You answer it. You hear these words from a close friend or family member. You want to help, there's not much time, you have to act quickly-here is what you need to do:
Assume someone is listening to the call! Do not talk about the case and tell the same to the caller. Tell your friend or loved one to
say nothing to the police. Tell your loved one that you will get a lawyer. Get the basic information about the case, such as the arresting agency, location, the name your family member was arrested under, date of birth, the arrest number, the arresting officer's name and phone number.
Contact an Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer Immediately hiring an experienced
White Plains criminal defense attorney can make all the difference in the world. You need to act quickly. The earlier you retain The Law Office of John M. Cromwell, the sooner you can learn:
- What the charges are
- Whether the police will let your loved one out with a desk appearance ticket (DAT) or whether he will have to wait to see a judge
- Will he be released on own recognizance (ROR) or will bail be set and if so, how much
- If bail is likely, can you get a bail bond, and who can help you with that
Once you hire a lawyer, the lawyer will be able to
- Work with you to get all the information necessary to make a strong argument to the judge why your loved one should be released either with no bail or as little bail as possible
- Meet your loved one at court and consult with him, and with the prosecutor, before he sees the judge
- Fight for your loved one's rights in court
Someone who has been arrested has the right to see a judge "promptly" following the arrest. This first court appearance is called the
arraignment. While there is no set time period within which the police or the DA's Office must let you see a judge, this should generally occur within 18 to 24 hours of the arrest.
When will I see a lawyer? In White Plains, whatever your financial resources, your family member will be provided with a free lawyer at the arraignment. This is the minimum the government will provide. You have the right, and will be much better served, to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible, even in the
pre-arrest stage, as soon as you have reason to believe you are the target of a criminal investigation.
If you act quickly and hire an experienced criminal defense attorney, your paid lawyer will know who to call to tell the police that you have a lawyer and to stop questioning you. Your lawyer may even be able to intervene to try to get the case advanced so that you can see the judge much sooner than if you had to wait for free legal representation.
If the police want to question you before seeing the judge, they have to read the Miranda rights, including your right to remain silent. If you agree to talk with the police, you are
giving up that right. The law also requires the police to tell you that before giving up or waiving this right, you have a right to consult with an attorney to learn whether you should talk, and that the government will provide one if necessary.
As an accused person, the right to remain silent is the single most important right you have! Do not give it away recklessly.
The Job of the Police Is to Solve Crimes In order to make an arrest, the police must have
probable cause. Probable cause means
some reason, and it doesn't have to be much, to believe that a crime was committed and that you were involved in some way. Once the police arrest you, they have already made their decision. Whatever your gifts of persuasion might be,
YOU ARE NOT GOING TO TALK YOUR WAY OUT OF IT! That does not mean that the police do not want to talk to
you. On the contrary, the police may be very interested in talking to you-but
not to help you; to help them, of course! They will be very happy to get you to confess, or make statements that will hurt your defense, or they may want to acquire information that will help them learn about other criminal activity or lead to the arrests of other suspects.
Why Defending Yourself is a Mistake
There is an old saying, "A man who is his own lawyer has a fool for a client." You can represent yourself, but it is usually a recipe for disaster. For that reason, a judge will only let you go pro se, Latin, for "by yourself'" with great reluctance, and after making sure that you have the necessary ability to do it. The criminal justice system is adversarial. The police, the prosecutor, and the judge,
are not your friends. You may think your case is simple and straight-forward, but there will often be something in the case that could help you, which you may not be aware of but which an experienced
criminal defense attorney would able to spot. Even if they see it, you cannot count on the police, the prosecutor, or even the judge to tell you. Even if you are very familiar with criminal law and procedure, your emotional investment in the case may distort the way you see it.
An experienced criminal defense lawyer will be able to gather all the evidence, the bad as well as the good, examine it from a neutral perspective, and give you fair and balanced assessment of your options. Any time there is even the possibility of jail, you have the right to have a lawyer represent you. Generally, the prosecutor and the judge will not discuss your case with you unless you have a lawyer.
Contact a White Plains criminal defense lawyer
as early as possible after your arrest to maximize your chances of a favorable outcome to this situation.