In New York City, defendants are usually brought before a judge of the Criminal Court of the City of New York for arraignment within 24 hours of arrest. Once the case has been docketed by the Court and the complaint and the defendant's criminal history are ready, the defendant is produced for arraignment in Criminal Court.
At arraignment in Criminal Court, the defendant is informed of the charges against him and a bail determination is made. He is also given various notices, including: whether the case will be considered by a Grand Jury; whether he made statements to the police; and whether there was an identification by witnesses. If the defendant cannot afford an attorney or obtain one in time, one is appointed prior to the arraignment.
If the defendant is charged with a violation or a misdemeanor, he may plead guilty at arraignment. In some cases, a defendant charged with a felony is offered a misdemeanor plea at arraignment. Many defendants plead guilty at arraignments, though guilty pleas also can be entered at later stages in the case. The defendant can plead guilty to all of the charges in the complaint, or to less than all of the charges or to a lesser charge when offered by the Assistant District Attorney. If a defendant pleads guilty, the judge delivers the sentence. With a felony, where there is no misdemeanor offer, a defendant is not asked to enter a plea at criminal court arraignment.