"HOW CAN I PREPARE
FOR THE POSSIBILITY OF ARREST?"
* Write the NLG Legal Number on your wrist or ankle: (212) 679-6018
* Carry quarters and a phone card for calls, and granola bars, as food is often missed in jail
* Carry only one photo ID with a good address
* Do not carry anything you do not want the police to find–e.g., phone books, valuables, drugs (except necessary medications with prescription), knives
or other weapons
“HOW DO I KNOW IF I HAVE BEEN ARRESTED?”
Ask: “Am I free to go?” If the officer says “yes,” walk away. If the officer says “no,” state loudly: “I am going to remain silent, I want to speak to a lawyer.” Repeat Repeat this statement to anyone who questions you. Don’t Don’t believe everything the police say. It’s legal for them to lie.
“DO I HAVE TO GIVE MY NAME?”
Until recently, it has not been a crime in New York to refuse to give your name when asked by a police officer. However, a recent U.S. Supreme Court case may have changed the law in New York. If a police officer reasonably suspects that you have committed, or are about to commit, a misdemeanor or felony (which would ultimately be determined by a court), the officer is authorized to demand your name. If you refuse to give your name, the police could arrest you for Obstructing Governmental
Administration, a misdemeanor.
If you are arrested on another charge and refuse to give your name, you will be held without bail being granted until your identity is determined. If you have been arrested, giving a false name could be a crime. If asked for your name, your first response should be "Am I free to go?" Be aware that police may be carrying a list of deportable aliens. If you are driving a car, you must show your license, registration and proof of insurance, but you do not have to consent to a search, although the
police may have legal grounds to search your car anyway.
“WHAT DO I DO IF I AM
PLACED UNDER ARREST?”
State in a loud voice: “I am going to remain silent, I want to speak to a lawyer.” Give your true name and address, preferably by showing your one piece of photo ID, and allow yourself to be photographed and fingerprinted; this helps toward getting released. Remain calm and wait to speak with your lawyer. Do not talk with anyone else about the circumstances of your arrest, including other prisoners, friends
“WHAT HAPPENS TO ME
AFTER I HAVE BEEN ARRESTED?”
There are three paths by which an arrest may be processed, depending on the charge(s) and the circumstances of the arrest. A summons is similar to a traffic ticket and is issued at the discretion of the police for minor offenses. Upon proof of identity, the summons is issued at or near the scene, directing the arrestee to appear at court in 30 days. A desk arraignment ticket (DAT) is a notice similar to a summons that directs an appearance in court. It is issued after an arrestee has been taken to a precinct and fingerprints have been checked to confirm there are no outstanding arrest warrants. The third path is to be “put through the system”: After you are arrested, you will be held in jail for 24-36 hours until you appear before a judge, are arraigned on the charges and enter a plea. Prior to seeing the judge, you will be interviewed briefly by a defense attorney from Legal Aid or the “18-b panel” (private attorneys who do indigent defense), who will review your charges and any plea offers from the district attorney. (Make sure to get your attorney’s business card!) When you are brought into court before the judge, let your defense attorney do the talking. When in doubt, always plead “Not Guilty.”
Call the NLG Legal Number when you get out of jail. Good luck.