An arrest can be a confusing and distressing experience, especially if you have never been taken into police custody before. Fortunately, you have the right to speak to an attorney who can explain the process and answer your questions. It is important to understand that not every arrest will lead to a criminal charge or a conviction. Saratoga County criminal defense lawyer Gregory P. Garofalo has advised many people dealing with their first-time arrest or first-time DWI in the State of New York. Although the criminal justice system can be complex, Attorney Garofalo is prepared to guide you through the process and help you make informed decisions that protect your rights.Information for People Facing First-Time Arrests
An arrest can arise out of a police encounter, a traffic stop, an outstanding warrant, driving with a suspended license, or other situations. In most cases, a police officer must have a reasonable suspicion of criminal activity before stopping you to investigate. To lawfully place you under arrest, a police officer must act pursuant to a valid arrest warrant or have probable cause to believe that you have committed a specific crime. If you are arrested, you will be searched. The police have the authority to seize any weapons, illegal contraband like marijuana or other drugs, and evidence that may connect you with a crime. Your car may also be subject to an inventory search and seizure.
Once you are in police custody, you must be informed of your Miranda rights before the police can question you. These are constitutional rights that include your right to an attorney and the right to remain silent. If the police officers do not interrogate you or try to elicit any kind of response from you regarding a crime, they might not need to recite the Miranda rights to you. Nevertheless, if you volunteer information, make any unprompted statements to police, or are overheard discussing your case with a cellmate, it could be used against you.
At the local precinct, you will be fingerprinted and asked to provide basic information, such as your full name, address, and date of birth. During the precinct processing, you will be confined to a cell, but you will be permitted to make three phone calls. The arresting officer will prepare a report and consult with a prosecuting attorney. The prosecuting attorney will review the evidence and determine whether it is sufficient to support the charges alleged by the police. In some situations, the District Attorney’s Office may decline to prosecute the case. If the prosecution does decide to file a complaint against you, and the offense is minor, you could be released and required to appear for arraignment on a given date. For most offenses, however, you will be transferred to the courthouse, where the arraignment will take place. You have the right to legal representation during the arraignment, where your attorney will enter a notice of appearance.
While the basic steps of the criminal justice process are generally the same for all adults, people without any prior arrests are in a better position than defendants with a history of convictions. Depending on the offense, first-time offenders may be released on bail or avoid the lengthy jail sentences required for repeat convictions. In addition, your attorney can attempt to negotiate a favorable plea agreement with the prosecution or argue in favor of a diversion program during the sentencing process.Confer with a Saratoga County Lawyer After a First-Time Arrest
Saratoga County attorney Gregory P. Garofalo understands that a first-time arrest is a daunting experience and works aggressively to achieve a fair outcome for people who have no prior criminal record. Mr. Garofalo can defend clients against criminal and DWI charges in Ballston Spa, Ballston Lake, Malta, Rotterdam, Clifton Park, Gansevoort, Saratoga Springs, Latham, Schenectady, Glens Falls, Waterford, and Queensbury, as well as many other locations in Saratoga, Albany, Schenectady, Warren, and Washington Counties. If you have been arrested, call the Law Office of Gregory P. Garofalo at (518) 584-1557 or contact us online to arrange a free consultation.