Being charged with a criminal offense can be frightening. A conviction of a criminal offense can affect every aspect of your life, including your job, child custody, and your standing in your community. Police officers, judges and the entire judicial process can be intimidating, especially when you don’t have someone you can trust to explain the process and protect your rights. contact our office today
At SIEGEL GULLO, Attorneys, we understand the stakes and we have the experience and dedication to guide you through the complex criminal defense and appeal process. For over a decade, our office has handled all types of criminal and serious vehicle and traffic matters, allowing us to establish good working relationships with law enforcement and local court systems.
If you have been arrested or charged with a crime, you should contact an attorney as soon as possible. When meeting with the attorney for the first time, you should bring as much information about the charge/arrest as possible; including, but not limited to: charging papers, police reports, bail papers, dates, times, and locations of future appearances, and any records of prior arrests or convictions.
Criminal Arrest Records
A record will be created of your arrest when you are arrested for a felony or
misdemeanor, you will also be fingerprinted and photographed as part of the arrest record.
If the case is dismissed, or you are found not guilty, your arrest record will then be sealed and you fingerprints
and photographs must be returned to you or destroyed. If personal property or money is taken from
you, you must be given a receipt showing the
amount of money or the kind of property taken.
Once you are arrested and booked, you must
be taken to court “without unnecessary delay. “
If the court is not then open, you may be held
in custody until it is open.
Right to a lawyer
Your right to have a lawyer is a fundamental
one at every stage of a criminal proceeding.
If you appear in a court without a lawyer,
the judge must allow you a “reasonable time” to
find one before proceeding with the case, which
usually means a few days. In addition, the judge
must tell you of your right to use the telephone
or to send a letter free of charge in order to get
a lawyer and to tell a relative about your arrest.
Your right to have a lawyer is a
fundamental one at every stage
of a criminal proceeding.
If you do not have a lawyer at the time of your
first appearance before the judge, you have the
right to insist that the court assign you an attorney
if you cannot afford one. If you have waived your
right to counsel earlier and you now decide you
want one, you may exercise your right at this stage.
Depending on the local plan in effect for
providing a lawyer in such cases, you may get a
private attorney, or you may be assigned someone
from a legal aid society. A public defender will be
assigned if your community has one.
What is an arrest?
You have been arrested when a police officer
or citizen takes you into custody or restrains you
physically or verbally so that you may be held
to answer for a crime or an offense; you may be
taken into custody immediately or be given an
appearance ticket similar to a traffic ticket.
A warrant for an arrest is a process issued by a
court. It may be executed on any day of the week
and at any hour of the day or night. The police
officer must tell you that he is acting under the
authority of a warrant. He also must show you
the warrant, if you ask, and give you a chance
to read it either at the time of the arrest, if it is
in his possession, or as soon as he obtains it.
If you refuse to let him in, a police officer
with an arrest warrant may break open a door or
window to gain entrance, after he has given you
notice of his authority and purpose or without
notice if he reasonably believes that you will
escape, destroy evidence or that notice will
Arrest without a warrant
A police officer may arrest you without
a warrant if:
(a) He has reason to believe that a crime,
violation or offense is being committed or
attempted in his presence.
(b) He has reason to believe that you committed
a crime although not in his presence. Crimes
include felonies and misdemeanors.
(c) He has reason to believe that you were
lawfully arrested by a private person.
When making an arrest without a warrant
a police officer must tell you the reason for the
arrest, unless you are in the act of committing the
crime or are being chased. In any arrest without a
warrant, a police officer may chase you beyond
his geographical area of employment.
A citizen may arrest you without a warrant
if you have committed a felony in fact or if you
have committed a non-felony in his presence. He
must tell you the reason for the arrest unless that
is impractical to do.
You may sue a private individual for unlawful
arrest if you did not commit any crime, even if the
individual had reasonable cause to believe you
had committed a crime.
You may use reasonable force to resist an
unlawful arrest being made by a private citizen.
If you are arrested by a private citizen you
must be taken before a judge or turned over to
a police officer “without unnecessary delay.”
Use of force
If you resist an arrest, the police officer may
use all necessary means to arrest you, including
Questioning without arrest
The law permits a police officer to approach
any person in a public place to request information
if he reasonably suspects that you are committing,
have committed or are about to commit a crime.
He may demand to know your name, address
and an explanation of your actions.
You are not required to answer; the right to
remain silent is guaranteed you by the Federal
and New York State constitutions.
When you are lawfully arrested, your person
may be searched. In addition, the immediate area
of the place of your arrest may be searched.
If you are held for questioning by a police
officer and he reasonably suspects that he
is in danger, he may search you for weapons
or instruments that could cause serious injury.
If he finds a dangerous weapon or instrument
on you, he may keep it until he finishes
questioning you. If he does not arrest you, he
must give you back the weapon (provided you
have a permit to carry it). If the police officer,
while searching you for dangerous weapons,
finds anything else on you which is a crime
to possess, he may take it, and arrest you for
In all situations, the police officer needs a
warrant to search you, except where the search
is incidental to a lawful arrest or under other
specific circumstances where the search may
be justified by law.
Anything unlawfully taken by the
police may not later be used as
evidence against you.
A search warrant is an order in writing signed
by a judge directing a police officer to search a
certain place and/or person for specified property
and to bring that property to court. The warrant
must describe the place and/or person to be
searched and the property to be searched for.
The police officer has to show the search
warrant and give notice of his authority or purpose
before making entry and beginning to search.
However, the warrant may authorize the police to
break in and search without notice. A police officer
can break in if you refuse to admit him after being
Anything unlawfully taken by the police may
not later be used as evidence against you.
If you are taken into police custody (this
includes juveniles) you have the following rights:
(a) You have a right to telephone your lawyer
or to telephone your friends or family in order
to notify them of your arrest.
(b) You have a right to speak with your lawyer
at the place where you are being held.