At O’Brien & Eggleston PLLC, our Albany criminal defense attorneys know that getting arrested comes with much confusion, especially if this is your first time being charged with a crime in New York.

New York criminal cases generally have several stages, each with specific procedures and legal processes. The phases may vary depending on the type and severity of the charges.

Here, our Albany County defense lawyers provide an overview of the typical stages in a criminal case.

Stages of a Criminal Case

How Criminal Charges Unfold in New York

Because all criminal cases and the individuals charged with a crime are unique – including the severity of the crime and the person’s criminal background, some instances may divert from the following legal format.

Many take the following courses:

  • Arrest

The process begins with an arrest, either with or without a warrant, based on probable cause that a crime has been committed. If an arrest occurs without a warrant, a law enforcement officer must generally have a reasonable belief that a crime has taken place.

  • Booking and Initial Appearance

After the arrest, the suspect is taken to the police station for booking, which involves recording personal information and details about the alleged crime. The suspect is usually informed of their rights during an initial appearance, including the right to an attorney.

  • Arraignment

The defendant is brought before a judge for arraignment. The charges are formally presented during this stage, and the defendant is asked to enter a plea — guilty, not guilty, or no contest. The judge may decide on bail at this point.

  • Bail Hearing

If the defendant is not released on their own recognizance, a separate bail hearing may be held to determine whether bail is appropriate and, if so, the amount.

  • Preliminary Hearing

In some cases, a preliminary hearing may be held to determine if there is enough evidence for the case to proceed.

  • Discovery

The prosecution and defense engage in the discovery process, exchanging information and evidence relevant to the case.

  • Pretrial Motions

Attorneys may file pretrial motions to address legal issues, like suppressing evidence or dismissing charges.

The prosecution and defense may negotiate a plea deal, where the defendant agrees to plead guilty to a lesser charge in exchange for a more lenient sentence.

  • Trial

If no plea agreement is reached, the case goes to trial. A judge or jury evaluates the evidence presented by both sides, and a verdict (guilty or not guilty) is reached.

  • Sentencing

If the defendant is found guilty, a separate sentencing hearing is held. The judge determines the appropriate punishment, including fines, probation, imprisonment, or a combination.

  • Appeals

If dissatisfied with the outcome, the defendant may file an appeal to challenge legal errors or constitutional violations that may have occurred during the trial.

Contact Our Albany Criminal Defense Attorneys at O’Brien & Eggleston PLLC

It is important to note that the specific stages and procedures can vary based on the type of case and jurisdiction. If you are facing criminal charges in New York, contact our Albany criminal defense attorneys at O’Brien & Eggleston PLLC today by calling (518)-391-2369 or online to schedule your initial appointment. Partnering with an experienced attorney is crucial for understanding the specifics of your case and navigating the legal process effectively.

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