Westchester County is the home to almost 1 million residents and many more business and tourist travelers. Like any highly populated region, crimes occur throughout the county. One of the busiest municipalities in terms of arrests is White Plains. Whether you are charged with a misdemeanor Third Degree Assault or felony Criminal Mischief, any charge, crime or arrest that is either a misdemeanor or a felony that has not been indicted is processed through the White Plains City Court and prosecuted by the Westchester County District Attorney’s Office’s White Plains Branch Office. This blog entry will touch on the process, procedures and background of the White Plains City Court as it relates and is relevant to criminal prosecutions.
The central hub of Westchester County and a gateway to New York City, the people and businesses of White Plains are quite diverse. From Pace University to the Westchester Mall, there is a constant stream of people. Generally, if you are arrested for any felony or misdemeanor crime in White Plains you will first be processed at the White Plains Police Station at 77 South Lexington Avenue, the same building as the White Plains City Court. After being fingerprinted and the White Plains Police Department drafts a criminal court or felony complaint (sometimes called an information), you will be held until you see a judge for your arraignment or you may receive an appearance ticket. Unlike New York City where prosecutors draft complaints and appear before a judge along with you and your defense lawyer for arraignment and bail, Westchester County does not always proceed in this same way. In fact, it is not atypical for you, an accused, to appear before a judge who is called in after hours for arraignment without either an Assistant District Attorney or your criminal defense attorney being present. Alternatively, you can also be held depending on the time of your arrest until the following morning if there is a court calendar where you will be processed in a more “regular” fashion with all parties present.
Upon appearing before the judge in White Plains City Court your lawyer will speak on your behalf. The judge will formally advise you of your charges and the District Attorney will indicate whether or not they are prepared to proceed with the criminal case and, if they choose, make a bail application to the court. Your criminal defense lawyer will respond to the bail request made by the prosecution before the judge renders a decision. If you are held in custody because you cannot post bail, then you will be sent to the Westchester County Jail in Valhalla. If you post bail or none is set, then you are free to leave after the judge hears your case.
The trajectory of a case in White Plains City Court depends on the underlying offense. If the crime is a misdemeanor – DWI, Petit Larceny, Seventh Degree Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance, and others – then your case will remain in White Plains City Court until its resolution either pre-trial or at trial. Motions will be filed and hearings will be conducted in this court. If the crime is a felony – Second Degree Assault, any degree of Grand Larceny, Second Degree Identity Theft, and others – then White Plains City Court will merely serve as a court to follow the status of your case and as the court where a Felony Hearing (Preliminary Hearing) is conducted if the parties choose this path. If your case is indicted by a Grand Jury or you waive a Grand Jury for what is called a Superior Court Information or SCI, then your case will be removed from this court and sent to County Court in White Plains where all felony cases are handled.
No, this blog entry does not answer all the questions you may have if you are arrested in White Plains, New York. However, it is a valuable “short read” for a proper foundation and to educate yourself on the process and types of cases that are a part of and make up the White Plains City Court.
To learn more about the crimes addressed here including any degree of Assault, Grand Larceny or Petit Larceny, or any criminal offense, review Saland Law PC’s websites and blogs listed below or follow the links found throughout this entry. Saland Law PC is a New York criminal defense firm founded by two former Manhattan prosecutors. The New York criminal defense attorneys at Saland Law PC represent clients throughout the New York City and Hudson Valley regions.