Interviewer: Now, what else happens in the arraignment? They must set another court date, but what else happens? Do you make a guilty or not guilty plea at that time or are you offered a plea bargain?
Stuart Austin: The process in Nassau County is that the courts normally do not offer a plea bargain but sometimes they will. In New York City, depending on the nature of the crime, if it’s a low level larceny or a low level drug crime, a lot of those will get all pled out at arraignment, so you never have to come back again.
Your Case May be Diverted to Another Court if You Are Underage
During some arraignments, the judge will determine if they are going to take your case and make an appointment for one of the specialty courses, such as the adolescent diversion program because you’re under age.
Are they going to put your case through a drug treatment court? Or are they just going to give you a regular court date? There is some wrangling of where your court date will be, if they’re setting one.
If You Are Being Offered a Plea Bargain by the District Attorney, You Might Be Able to Enter Your Plea at the Arraignment
Interviewer: So in some counties in New York State they don’t let you enter a plea but some places they do? New York City will allow pleas on certain low level crimes but otherwise they won’t let you enter a plea?
Stuart Austin: Correct. Meaning, if they’re willing to make you an offer or if you have a charge that’s minor, then they’ll let you enter a plea, but in essence they don’t really want a lot of people pleading guilty to a criminal charge. If you are accused of a crime, the courts do not want you entering a plea without knowing the ramifications, without talking to an attorney, and without having some insight into exactly what’s going on.
The Courts Do Not Want Individuals to Unknowingly Make a Plea That Can Have Harmful Consequences
This because the problem is, that pleading guilty to almost any crime can harmful consequences the average person is unaware of. You could lose your employment as the result of a conviction, even if it is a misdemeanor. There can also be deportation consequences for immigrants. Also, for high-level crimes, the judge will not let defendants make a plea without, at the very least, having the next court date scheduled and most importantly, having the time to consult with an attorney, if you are appearing at the arraignment without one.
The Second Court Appearance
Interviewer: What’s the next court date called and when will that be scheduled?
If You Are Released at Your Arraignment, the Next Court Date Is Usually a Month Later
Stuart Austin: The second court date scheduling usually depends on the court’s calendar. The next court date’s really just your first court appearance and, if you are released, they probably won’t make you come back for at least another month or so. In part, that’s just because the court calendars get booked up with people who are incarcerated who need their cases called before yours. Also the courts don’t want people to take off two or three days right in a row from their job.
If You Are Incarcerated the Next Court Date will Be Soon after the Arraignment
If you’re incarcerated at the time, they will give you a court date much closer to the date of your arraignment. Sometimes it is almost immediately following the arraignment, possibly two or three days later. This is because at this point they really need to make sure that you’re being held for a valid reason and for a crime that was actually committed or committed by you, because now they’ve taken all your liberty.