What to Know About Precincts in New York City

Any arrest made by state law enforcement within the five boroughs – whether for a felony, misdemeanor or petty offense – is eventually brought to the local precinct for the processing of background information. Upon arrival, however, you may be first asked by a police officer whether you wish to make an oral and/or written statement about the incident. Against the advice of any top criminal defense lawyer, many recently arrested persons do, without hesitation, agree to make such a statement. In other cases, a statement may be procured through promises of law enforcement – sometimes true, usually false – of leniency or release. In either scenario, the written statement will likely be offered to the prosecutors assigned to your case as a confession and its admissibility at trial could devastate potential defenses.

This is not a situation you wish to occur as it will make fighting your case much more difficult. Whether or not Miranda Rights have been read or the opportunity for a phone call has been given, any decision on making a written statement should be considered in light of how it may be later used by prosecutors at trial. A New York City criminal attorney could explain what you should know about precincts in New York City during a criminal case.

Does Someone Have to Give The Police their Name During or After Arrest?

Whether or not a statement has been made, police will ultimately ask you to provide pedigree or personal information such as name, address and date of birth. This may happen at any time after arrest, although it typically occurs after police seek to elicit a written statement about the incident. Based on our decades of experience dealing with arrests in New York City, this information is required by the NYPD to process an arrest. Unlike a request for a written statement, an officer’s request for pedigree information should generally be complied with. Affirmative refusals or making deliberate falsehoods as to name and/or current residence can only make a bad situation worse, both at the precinct and at arraignment/bail hearing. See N.Y. Penal Law § 190.23 (making it a B misdemeanor to “knowingly misrepresent … name, date of birth or address to a police officer”).

Notwithstanding pedigree information, all persons in the custody of police have the right to refuse to speak to them and, in most cases, it is generally wise to do so. Even in the absence of Miranda Warnings, statements made to either an officer or a cell mate may be overheard and may potentially be useful to prosecutors at your trial. See People v. Poette, 229 A.D.2d 796, 797 (3rdDep’t. 1996) (noting, for the purposes of the prosecution’s use of unwarned statements made at the precinct, “police simply have no obligation to silence a talkative defendant”). Offering law enforcement as little information as possible and otherwise keeping quiet, other than to request to speak to a top defense attorney is always a sound strategy at the precinct.

What Are the Benefits of Hiring Legal Counsel After an Arrest?

Everyone is entitled to hire an attorney immediately upon arrest. Hiring an attorney may be challenging for anyone that remains in custody after an arrest, but a family member could arrange for legal counsel prior to arraignment. The benefits of having an attorney during the early stages of a criminal case are significant.

The most important benefit of a criminal defense attorney is their advice and guidance when someone is held in a precinct in New York City. The police are under no obligation to be truthful and often try to convince defendants that the evidence against them is strong. In other cases, the police may appear friendly and offer a person the chance to clear up the facts surrounding their arrest. In either case, the police are only interested in evidence they can use at trial. An attorney can advise a person on the value of refusing to speak with the police. They can also inform law enforcement that their client is unwilling to discuss the matter.

An experienced attorney could also speed up the arraignment process. While state law requires arraignment within 24 hours of an arrest, there are some exceptions that will allow the courts to drag that process out longer. An attorney could secure a person’s release from jail pending arraignment or help avoid a delay in the arraignment process.

Some arrests result from genuine misunderstandings. In some cases, an attorney might be able to show the police that the arrest was wrongful or mistaken. In these cases, an attorney could secure their client’s release from precinct without any charges being filed. Avoiding a criminal charge entirely is a best case scenario for most people in custody at a New York City precinct.

Contact a New York City Attorney About What to Know When Detained in a Precinct

While we cannot guarantee a particular outcome to your case, we can guarantee that retaining a lawyer during the arrest process could reduce the risk of incriminating yourself in police interrogations at the precinct. Call us today to schedule a free consultation. We could explain what you should know about precincts in New York City when detained.

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