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Law Offices of Charles Andrew Miller

Case Procedure           
Penal Law  

Arrest

Types of  Offenses      

Central Booking

Arraignment            

Grand Jury Action      

Plea Negotiations

Pre-Trial Motions and Hearings     

Discovery

Robbery  

Trial 

Burglary 

Sentencing

Weapons  Possession 

Sexual  Offenses 


Homicide 


Arrest

The police can only arrest a person, take them into custody, based upon probable cause that the person has committed a crime. The police can make an arrest based on their own observations of criminal wrongdoing or based on information provided to them by another person. Most arrests occur in close proximity to the time and location of the incident in question. However, many arrests occur after an investigation (such as a robbery, where those responsible got away from the scene). At the time of arrest, the arresting officer will often have three primary objectives: 

1. Identification: 

When police officers don’t witness a crime, they often rely on the witnesses, if any, to make an identification. Identifications come in various forms: 

a. Point out/canvas:-The witness observes the alleged perpetrator in the street, in a store or other location and literally points out this person to the police 

b. Show up:-Known as the most suggestive form of identification, a witness provides a physical description of the alleged perpetrator to the police, and the police, soon thereafter, literally bring a person fitting that description to the witness for a possible identification. The length of time that has transpired from the initial description of the perpetrator to the time of the identification, and the method of presentation of the “shown up” person to the witness (in handcuffs, held by the police, spot light etc.) are all factors weighed to determine if the identification is a permissible one. 

c. Photo array:-Witness reviews books of photographs at the police station and informs the police if any person resembles the alleged perpetrator. The difference in this form of identification is that the person chosen from a photograph, if later apprehended, will not have been found at or near the scene of the crime. The photo array is usually done days, and maybe weeks, after the fact.       

d. Lineup:-The most comprehensive form of identification. The suspect is placed in a line with about 5-6 persons that resemble the suspect, and the witness determines if any of the persons in the line are the perpetrator. The decision to place a particular suspect into a lineup is based on an earlier physical description of the perpetrator. 

The key factor in lineup identifications is that the suspect has a constitutional right to have counsel present at the lineup and observe the method used by the police to create a fair and impartial lineup. Counsel will voice their objections to the police if the lineup is unnecessarily too suggestive. 

2. Statements:

The strongest form of evidence available to the police and the prosecution are the words of the defendant. A defendant’s own statements can be used against him as admissions of fact in a trial. The ability of the police to obtain incriminating statements from a defendant is one of the most critical aspects of a criminal investigation. 

The average citizen has seen their fair share of television crime shows or movies, and they are familiar with the term “Miranda Rights.” What are these rights and when do they apply? 

Miranda Rights stem from a United States Supreme Court case Miranda v. Arizona. In that case, the court ruled that when the police elect to question a suspect who has been placed into custody, they must afford the suspect his Miranda warnings. Those warnings include: 

-Right to remain silent. -Anything said by you can and will be used against you at trial   

-Right to have an attorney, including the right to have the attorney present prior to any questioning The “custodial interrogation” requirement is not present when the police are merely investigating a crime and ask to speak to you. You need to understand that you have no obligation to speak to the police. Their interest is usually far different from your own. The best advice is to inform the police that you would feel more comfortable having an attorney present prior to answering any questions. There is always time to talk; once you’ve talked, there’s no longer any time to take those statements back. 

3. Recovering property: 

-Once an arrest is made, the police are very interested in conducting a search of the person and any area within their immediate control. If someone is driving a car and is arrested for drunk driving, the police can search the person and the vehicle. If a weapon, drugs or alcohol is found in the vehicle, the police may have additional charges may have obtained corroborating evidence of the initial offense.