Arrest and Trial Procedures in New York State


There are two ways that a case will be processed after an arrest.

First, the arrested individual can be held in jail until the arraignment. At arraignment the individual, who is now the “Defendant” is formally charged with the crime(s) he/she allegedly committed; also, at arraignment, bail is determined. If the individual is arrested and held, he/she can expect to wait approximately 24 hours for arraignment.

The second way a case will be processed is by way of a Desk Appearance Ticket. In the Desk Appearance Ticket procedure, the police release the individual before arraignment. The individual is issued a desk appearance ticket; the ticket mandates that the individual bring him/herself back to court, for arraignment, on a specific date.


In most cases Desk Appearance Tickets are issued for misdemeanors and E felony offenses.

New York City Criminal Court Locations and Contact Information


Central Booking (212) 374-3921 New York County (Manhattan) Criminal Court (646) 386-4000 100 Centre Street Directions: No. 4 or 5 train to Brooklyn Bridge Station; No. 6 train, N, R or C train to Canal Street; No. 1 train to Franklin Street; M1, M6 and M15 bus lines are nearby. 100 Centre Street is one block north of Worth Street, three blocks south of Canal Street.


Central Booking (718) 935-9249 Kings County (Brooklyn) Criminal Court (718) 643-5675 120 Schermerhorn Street Directions: N, R or M train to Lawrence Street Station; G train to Hoyt-Schermerhorn Street Station; A, F or C train to Jay Street Station; 2, 3, 4 or 5 trains to Borough Hall Station. B67, B41 and B45 bus lines stop near Livingston Street and Smith Street; B63 and B65 bus lines stop near Atlantic Avenue and Smith Street.


Central Booking (718) 298-0736 Bronx County Criminal Court (718) 590-2886 215 East 161st Street, near Sherman and Sheridan Avenues. Directions: C or D train to Yankee Stadium/161st Street Station; No. 4 train also stops at same station. BX 13 bus stops at East 161st Street and Sheridan Avenue; BX 6 stops at East 161st Street and Sherman Avenue; BX 1 stops at East 161st Street and Grand Concourse.


Central Booking (718) 268-4523 Queens County Criminal Court (718) 520-1985 125-01 Queens Blvd (near Hoover Avenue and 82nd Avenue) Directions: E or F train to Union Turnpike Station. Q60, Q37, Q74 and Q46 buses all have stops in close proximity to Courthouse.

Staten Island

Central Booking (718) 876-8493 Richmond County (Staten Island) Criminal Court (718) 390-8400 Note: On weekends, call the Brooklyn Arraignment Office (718) 643-5675 67 Targee Street (between Frean and Purroy Streets) Directions: From Ferry Terminal take S74 bus to Broad Street and Gordon Street or S78 bus to Broad Street and Thompkins Avenue; Courthouse is approximately four blocks from either stop.

New York City Central Booking

New York Criminal Court Structure

The Criminal Court of New York City

This court handles misdemeanor offenses from arrest through trial. This court also handles arraignments felony cases. If an individual is arrested in New York City, he/she will be arraigned at one of the many criminal courts in New York City.

District Court:

District courts are located in Nassau County and the five western towns of Suffolk County. These courts serve as trial courts for misdemeanors; they also handle felony arraignments.

City Courts and Town and Village:

These courts serve as trial courts for misdemeanors. The courts also handle felony arraignments. The courts are divided into Districts by City/County.
The Town and Village Court judges do not have to be lawyers.

The Supreme Court:

The New York State Supreme Court is a statewide court that handles felony prosecutions.

Types of Criminal Offenses


A violation is not considered a criminal matter. Violations are punishable by up to 15 days in jail and/or a fine. Usually if you are charged with a violation, the police officer will not take you into custody. Instead, the officer will give you a Desk Appearance Ticket (“DAT”) with a return date, time and courthouse written on the ticket.


Misdemeanors are crimes punishable by a maximum of one year in jail and/or a fine. The classes of misdemeanor offenses are A and B misdemeanors. There are also unclassified misdemeanors. If you are charged with a misdemeanor, the Police Officer must file a misdemeanor complaint in the Criminal Court in the borough where the criminal conduct allegedly happened.


Felonies are crimes punishable by a state prison sentence in excess of one year and a fine. For the crime of murder in the first degree, a death sentence can be imposed. Felonies are classified as A1, A2, B, C, D, or E felonies.

If you are charged with a felony, the Police Officer must file a felony complaint in the Criminal Court in the borough where the criminal conduct allegedly happened. The initial misdemeanor or felony complaint can contain “hearsay allegations.” The phrase “hearsay allegations” means that the person who signs the complaint, who is often the arresting officer, does not have first-hand knowledge of the incident. The complaint must also allege facts of an evidentiary nature that support or tend to support the charges—in other words, facts that strongly suggest that the charges are valid. Before you can go to trial, the Prosecution will have to convert the complaint into an “information.” The factual part of an information does not contain any hearsay allegations. A complaint can be converted into an information by use of a supporting deposition or corroborating affidavit. These are documents that are signed by either the alleged victim or someone else with first-hand knowledge of the incident—for instance, a witness. Thus they eliminate the element of hearsay from the complaint. Every element of the offense charged in an information must be must be supported by non-hearsay allegations. These allegations may be stated in the information itself or attached in supporting depositions. One of your rights is that the prosecution must present a sufficient information at time of trial in order for the case to go forward.

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