At The Station House
When someone is arrested in Nassau County
he is first taken to one of the Eight Precincts located in Nassau County.
If a person is arrested by a Village Police Department, he will first be
processed by the officers from the Village and then he will be taken to
the local Precinct for further processing.
The Eight Precincts are located as follows:
900 Merrick Road, Baldwin, NY 11510, telephone 516-573-6100
Precinct, 7700 Jericho Turnpike, Woodbury, NY 11797,
Precinct, 214 Hillside Avenue, Williston Park, NY
11596, telephone 516-573-6300
Precinct, 1699 Broadway, Hewlett, NY 11557, telephone
1655 Dutch Broadway, Elmont, NY 11003, telephone 516-573-6500
100 Community Drive, Manhasset, NY 11030, telephone 516-573-6600
Precinct, 3636 Merrick Road, Seaford, NY 11783,
Precinct, 286 Wantagh Avenue, Levittown, NY 11756,
At the police station, the police personnel
will prepare a wide variety of paperwork associated with an arrest,
including the initial charging documents. Where deemed necessary,
the police will assign a Detective to a case for further investigation who
may seek to obtain statements from a person arrested and who may also
speak with witnesses.
In some cases, the police actually have the
authority to set stationhouse bail, or an amount of money that would have
to be posted in order for the accused to be released pending action in
court. In other cases, the person arrested will remain in custody
until the matter is brought before a judge at a proceeding called an
arraignment (first appearance).
Criminal Court Arraignment
The arraignment is where a person accused
of a crime is formally and publicly brought before a judge and the judge
determines how much, if any bail is required in order to make sure that
the person returns to court on the dates set by the court.
Criminal Court arraignments in Nassau
County take place in the Nassau County District Court, located at 99 Main
Street in Hempstead. Arraignments in Nassau County District Court
take place daily, from 9AM to 5PM. The arrest to arraignment process
is not usually as long a process as it is in New York City. In New
York City, the arrest to arraignment time is usually about 24 hours.
Nassau County does not take typically take as long. It is even
possible in Nassau County to be arrested in the morning and see a judge
before Court closes in the afternoon.
Unlike the New York City Police, the Nassau
County Police are actually quite likely to issue desk appearance tickets (DATs)
or set police station bail for people charged with misdemeanor offenses.
A Desk Appearance Ticket permits a person accused of a crime to come to
court to answer the charges at a future date without the need to appear
before a judge first for the possible imposition of bail. There is
absolutely no guarantee of a DAT, especially in domestic violence cases,
but the likelihood of getting a DAT on misdemeanor charges is far greater
in Nassau County than in New York City.
Arraignment is not a trial.
Arraignments are not really an opportunity for either side to present
evidence or call witnesses. Arraignments are not proceedings at
which guilt or innocence is meant to be determined. Judges in
arraignments typically make their decisions about whether or not to set
bail and if so how much based on three primary factors: seriousness of the
offense charged, prior criminal history, and community ties.
The more serious the offense charged, the
more likely bail will be set and the higher it is likely to be. The
greater the criminal history of the accused, the more likely bail will be
set and the higher it is likely to be. The more the accused is
connected to Nassau County, however (employed, homeowner, etc.), the less
likely bail will be set and the lower the bail is likely to be.
How any individual case is evaluated
according to these factors is an extremely subjective determination.
Different judges are likely to vary widely with respect to their bail
decisions. The law accepts this fact of life and even provides that
judges are accorded a wide latitude. Appealing the amount of bail
set at an arraignment is not often a successful venture, because the law
presumes that the bail set at arraignment is the "correct" bail. The
law accepts that the bail determination process is highly subjective and
does not generally want to become embroiled in constant appeals and writs
over these subjective determinations. In some cases in which the
bail set is so out of proportion to what might be expected under the
circumstances there may be a legal basis to challenge the bail, or when
there is a change in circumstances in the case itself (new evidence) there
may be a basis to apply to change the bail.
At an arraignment the judge will take some
time to review the file to become familiar with the nature of the charges
and get a brief idea of the background of the person accused. The
judge will then usually ask to hear from the Assistant District Attorney
who may provide a brief summary of the case and make a recommendation as
to bail. Then the Judge will ask to hear from the defense lawyer.
At this moment the defense lawyer has a brief opportunity to explain to
the judge why his client is a good candidate to return on his own without
bail or why a particular bail amount would be better if the client can't
make the amount requested by the Assistant District Attorney.
Occasionally, the defense lawyer will quickly provide background
information to the Judge suggesting that the case against the accused is
not as strong as might seem. The defense lawyer may also more deeply
explore the issue of the accused's ties to the community.
The arraignment courtroom itself may seem
rather confusing to the uninitiated. Arraignments tend to be rather
quicker than most people imagine they would be and there is a fair amount
of legal jargon thrown around, including various legal notices and
references to sections of the Criminal Procedure Law. The people
accused will sometimes come out before the bench, two at a time,
Nassau County tends to scrutinize
eligibility for public defender services more carefully than other
counties, and those who are determined to be ineligible for public
defender services will be told to return to court with a private attorney.
In Nassau County, when the Judge makes the determination of ineligibility
for public defender services, it is taken seriously.