Contact with the Nassau County criminal court system begins with an arrest. After being arrested, a defendant must appear in court for an arraignment where the charges will be presented to the court. Depending on the offense and other factors, which include the defendant’s prior criminal contacts and the severity of the crime, a determination will be made as to whether the defendant will be released or held for arraignment. An appearance ticket with a date to voluntarily appear in Arraignment Part B in Nassau County District Court may be issued or the defendant may be held in police custody for arraignment the following day in Arraignment Part A.
At arraignment, a judge will make a determination as to the custody status of the defendant while the case is pending. Generally, a defendant may be released on his or her own recognizance (ROR) or bail may be set to ensure the individual’s return on future dates. It is the defendant’s responsibility to make each and every court appearance. Failure to appear at subsequent appearances may result in a warrant being issued for that person’s arrest. Appearance dates for most cases can be found online at the New York State eCourts website: http://iapps.courts.state.ny.us/webcrim_attorney/Login.
Other matters may also be addressed at arraignment, including temporary orders of protection and temporary suspension of the defendant’s driver’s license, where applicable. If the defendant is charged with a misdemeanor or felony, the court may consider appointing an attorney to the defendant (legal aid) if the individual falls within specified poverty guidelines established by the state. In limited circumstances, the court may allow a defendant to represent themselves. However, those charged with an offense are always free to retain their own lawyer and most chose to do so. The Nassau County Bar Association offers a lawyer referral service for those who need assistance finding paid counsel. The Nassau County Bar Association can be contacted at www.nassaubar.org. Click on “Lawyer Referral” in the upper right hand corner. Or you may call 516-747-4832.
After arraignment, the case will be assigned to a specific court part and judge. An assistant district attorney will then be assigned to the case as well. Individuals charged with violations or misdemeanors will have their cases heard in the First District Court on subsequent appearances. District Court is located at 99 Main Street in Hempstead, New York. The court can be contacted at (516) 572-2355. Felony offenses are transferred to County Court, located at 262 Old Country Road in Mineola, New York. County Court can be reached at (516) 571-2800.
Subsequent court appearances will be made in a specific court part, at which point the District Attorney’s Office may convey a plea offer. If an offer is not conveyed or accepted, the case may proceed to motion practice, where the defense attorney may move for various pre-trial hearings, where applicable. After motion practice, a case may still be disposed of via plea negotiations or proceed to hearings and/or trial.
The information provided by the Nassau County Bar Association is not meant to serve as specific legal advice for a particular situation or as a substitute for consultation with a lawyer. If you require the services of a lawyer, you may call the Nassau County Lawyer Referral Service at (516) 747-4832, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or go to www.nassaubar.org.