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Being charged with any criminal violation can place extreme stress on your personal and professional life. Our team is here for you. Headed by a former prosecutor, Harary Law offers unparalleled legal expertise and unlimited patience to address all your concerns. Grab our helping hand and speak to a member of our team today.

Timeline of a Criminal Case in New York


Investigation of "alleged bad act"

Put simply, this is everything that happens before your arrest. The part which gives the police the alleged reason for the arrest



Being placed into police custody Formal charges are usually filed against you within 24-48 hours. Note: the local prosecutor’s office will be the ones determining which charges to bring against you in court. This could differ from your arrest charges (the charges under which the police processed your arrest). While this does not have much significance on the final outcome of the case, it is important to realize that police are still building the case against you even after your arrest. It is always recommended to wait for your lawyer to be present before speaking with any law enforcement personnel. You have a right to remain silent. Protect your rights. Respectfully request your lawyer.



Your first stop after the back of the police car will likely be the local precinct in the area in which you were arrested. Here, police interrogation and initial processing will begin. At this time you will be given the opportunity to make a phone call. 



Central Booking

Within 4 to 6 hours you will be taken to the criminal court in the county of your arrest for further processing at Central Booking.


And the waiting begins…

You can expect to appear before a judge and be arraigned within 24 hours of your arrest



First court appearance, you will meet the public defender assigned to your case or your private lawyer of if you were able to contact your preferred lawyer.

This is also the first time you can see your friends and family following your arrest

Arraignment courts in the five boroughs are open 7 days a week and are open from 8AM-1AM. The arraignment court clerk staff will be able to provide you with court hours for other counties. This information is also available online.

The judge will read the charges against you and tell you what your rights are, like the right to a trial and the right to have an attorney appointed for you if you don’t have the money to hire one. With an attorney by your side (hired or provided to you) you then answer the charges. You answer the charges by telling the court if you are guilty or not guilty. 


Next the judge will decide if you are being released from the court house (to return for a later date) or if you will be held in jail until your next court date. This is known as the bail hearing portion of your arraignment. It is important that an experienced attorney represents you at this critical point in your criminal case. It can mean the difference of spending more time in jail away from your loved ones or returning home to resume your life and prepare for your next court date.


What happens after the arraignment depends on the type of crime you are being charged, specifically a misdemeanor or a felony. Misdemeanor matters will be adjourned for a future court appearance. Felony matters will be adjourned awaiting Grand Jury action before returning to a court calendar.


Note:  using your phone call to contact family and friends while in the precinct can help arrange the hiring of a private lawyer to represent you at the arraignment.



The process of reviewing the evidence the prosecution has against you. This is the longest part of any criminal case. It is highly recommended that you engage with competent counsel to help navigate you through discovery.


Motion practice and pre-trial hearings when appropriate

Your lawyer will make certain arguments before the court and submit documents for the judge to review.


At this point, your case can either result in a plea deal, a dismissal, or continue to trial.

Have you been charged with assault?

Assault charges in New York are taken very seriously. The potential penalties for an assault conviction in New York range from probation to years in prison. If you or someone you care about has been charged with assault of any kind, it is important to speak with an experienced attorney as soon as possible.

In New York, an assault charge can change drastically based on the given circumstances and the facts surrounding your assault charge. On the most basic level, a charge of assault is referring to a situation where you caused physical injury another party. More serious assault charges include gang assault, action aided by two or more individuals, carries a minimum sentence of 3.5 years behind bars. The more dangerous the assault, the higher the penalty.


Whether you are charged with a misdemeanor assault or a felony assault, it is important that you speak with a highly trained and skilled criminal defense lawyer about your case.

Have you been charged with a Domestic Violence related offense?

Domestic Violence in New York is classified as any violent act that occurs between intimate partners. New York takes Domestic Violence charges seriously and most District Attorneys’ offices have a specialized bureau dedicated to the prosecution of Domestic Violence crimes. Orders of Protections are nearly automatically issued for the aggrieved party and the arrested party will not be allowed to return home during the pendency of the case. Besides for an Order of Protection, domestic violence charges could lead to jail time, fines, and the loss of child custody rights.


Given the sensitivity of these charges it is important for you to have an attentive criminal defense attorney by your side throughout the process.

Are you facing Drug Charges?

To be charged with drug possession in New York, police simply need to find the drugs on your possession. The law in New York does not care whether the drugs were yours or not. The prosecutor only has to prove that the drugs were found on your possession.


A prosecutor can meet this burden by showing you had “possession” of the drugs in one of three ways- actual possession, constructive possession, or joint possession.

Actual possession is as simple as it sounds- the police discovered the drugs on your body and anything attached to your body such as a knapsack, a purse, or a gym bag wrapped over your shoulder. You are deemed to be in “constructive possession” of a controlled substance when the police found the substance in a location that you had dominion or control over. For example, drugs found in your bedroom dresser or in your refrigerator. Joint possession of a drug means that more than one person had possession of the drug at the same time- two or more people mutually possessed the drug. This is best understood by thinking of a scenario of drugs found in a vehicle with multiple passengers- police officers will arrest the driver and all passengers, and it can be proven that all occupants of the vehicle had “joint” possession of the substance.

Prosecutors have an easier time proving actual possession as opposed to constructive and joint possession.


In summary, you can be charged with drug possession in New York as long as the State can show that you had reason to know about the controlled substance and had the ability to have control over the drugs.  


Penalties for drug crimes in New York range from fines of a few hundred dollars to a maximum of life in prison for operating as a major trafficker. Additionally, you may be required to complete a period of post-release supervision known as “supervised release” or proof of participation in appropriate treatment programs. New York also enhances penalties for those with prior convictions. Alternative to incarcerations and programming to avoid a criminal record could be available for certain drug charges.

It is important that you speak with a New York criminal defense attorney today to understand the drug charges against you. Sometimes negotiating a plea deal involving drug treatment can be in your best interest.

Have you been charged with Weapon and/or Gun Possession Charges?

Under New York law, some of the most serious charges you can face include the possession or the use of a weapon. The bulk of weapon charges can be find in Article 265 of New York’s Penal Law. If you were arrested in New York City you can also be facing added Administrative charges found in NYC Administrative Code 10-131. The law allows for several degrees of criminal possession of a weapon, all with varying degrees of seriousness. Ranging from being caught with a pocket knife to a loaded pistol, prosecutors often have an easy time proving possession of a weapon before a judge and jury. Your defense will likely be based on how the gun or the weapon was recovered from the crime scene. A trained criminal defense attorney will be able to identify holes in the prosecution’s case and pinpoint problems with the way the police recovered the weapon. In some cases, your lawyer may be able to prove that the weapon was never even in your possession.


In short, you can be charged with criminal possession of a weapon when you are in possession of a banned weapon as defined by New York state law or when you use any instrument in a dangerous and unlawful manner against another.


The law is especially harsher on non-citizens in that they can be charged with misdemeanor possession of a weapon if any dangerous or deadly weapon is found on their person. Article 265 also covers the sale of firearms and prohibited uses of licensed weapons. 


If you are facing criminal possession of a weapon charges in New York, it is important for you to consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately after your arrest. Remember, New York does not take weapon charges lightly. The penalty for the lowest degree of weapon charges include up to one year in jail, heavy fines, and probation periods.

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