Arrests in New York City


What is an Arrest Warrant?
As all experienced New York City criminal defense lawyers know, a New York arrest warrant can be issued by a state judge for the arrest of any person subject to a filed criminal complaint by the District Attorney’s Office. CPL § 120.20(1). Although it does not need to be, arrest warrants are typically issued in cases where probable cause for arrest has been determined to exist by an empaneled grand jury through a felony indictment. Where no indictment has been issued, the judge contemplating authorization of the warrant must review the state’s evidence, whether in the form of oral testimony or written affidavits, to ensure that there exists a sufficient constitutional basis – probable or reasonable cause – for your arrest. CPL § 120.20 (2).

In theory, an arrest warrant may be issued for either a misdemeanor or felony offense. In practice, however, if an arrest warrant has been issued the court has made the additional determination that a ticketed summons to appear in court on the criminal charges is insufficient to ensure your appearance at arraignment. CPL § 120.20 (3). This supplemental finding means that arrest warrants are generally only issued in the cases where there is a not an insignificant risk of flight – usually where the charge or charges files include a D felony or higher.

While both a bench and an arrest warrant can result in a home arrest, the execution of an arrest warrant is likely to be much more disruptive and traumatic on witnessing loved ones. Arrest warrants, like bench warrants, may be executed at any time of day and anywhere within the state, including any in-state residence. For persons of a public persona or a recognizable name to their community, the media may be alerted to the warrant, potentially turning your arrest and subsequent booking on criminal charges into a media spectacle. And if law enforcement believes you to be a flight risk or a threat to potential evidence, forcible breaking and entering into your home or business by law enforcement is not only lawful, it is likely. CPL§ 120.80 (4), (5). It needs not be said what kind of effect this may have not only on you and your reputation but any family members present at the time of your arrest.

If you have knowledge or even the slightest hunch that a New York arrest or bench warrant has been or may soon be issued in yours or your loved one’s name, please get legal help and please do so quickly. Our experienced New York arrest warrant lawyers can speak with state investigators or prosecutors to determine the likelihood of an arrest if no warrant has yet to be issued and, if one has, prepare you for surrender to law enforcement in the most dignified manner possible. Through us, the terms of the surrender may be negotiated as a quick release on a desk appearance ticket. When that is not possible, we can begin preparing bail arguments and securing funds for a bond to allow you to go home as quickly as possible after arraignment. Whatever mistake or mistakes that have been made leading up to this point, don’t compound them by dealing with an open arrest warrant alone. Talk to an experienced New York criminal defense attorney at the Law Offices of Jeffrey Lichtman at (212) 581-1001 today.

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