What is a Voluntary Surrender?

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A voluntary surrender is a turn-in at the precinct, that has been pre-arranged by your attorney for arrest processing and the commencement of a criminal case against you.

Why Should I Agree to a Voluntary Surrender?

Admittedly, arrest processing and the subsequent time waiting for the arraignment is incredibly unnerving and uncomfortable to say the least. What is even more uncomfortable is being dragged out of bed at 6 AM by the warrant squad, or being arrested at work in front of your colleagues and supervisors.

A voluntary surrender allows you to plan for your arrest. Although, it is highly unlikely that your attorney will be successful in talking the detectives out of making an arrest, you will have some leeway to plan for an arrest. Such as planning to take a day off work, getting the bail together, assuring your have counsel, and alerting your family and friends about the situation.

What Happens Before the Surrender Date?

Before the surrender date, your attorney will contact the assigned detective to find of the following things:

  • What the allegations are;
  • What the charges are;
  • Whether you will be eligible for a Desk Appearance Ticket;
  • When the Detective is available to process your arrest

What Time Will My Voluntary Surrender Be Scheduled For?

Usually, we try to schedule the voluntary surrender for the earliest time the Detective or Police Officer has available. We’re brought in clients as early as 6 or 7 AM, in an effort to ensure that they go in front of a judge that same day. Although waking up that early in the morning is not enjoyable to most people, it is a small sacrifice to make to ensure that you are arraigned the same day. Only thing that is worse than waiting a whole day to see the judge, is waiting a whole day and night to see the judge.

What Happens When I Get To The Precinct?

We schedule a time to meet with the clients outside the precinct, which is usually 5-10 minutes before we are scheduled to meet with the detective. We will ensure that you don’t have anything on you that you shouldn’t have – such as a cell phone or excess cash and go over once again what to expect. We will also ensure you have all the necessary phone numbers with you.

After making sure you have everything you need and all your last minute questions are answered, we will go into the precinct together. Once inside, we will meet with the arresting officer, who will conduct a pat down of you and check your pockets to ensure you don’t have anything on you that you shouldn’t have. Your attorney will tell the police officer not to question you. Then, the attorney will leave and meet you at a later time for your arraignment.

During the arrest processing, the arresting officer will take your fingerprints and your mug shot. Since you have an attorney (especially an attorney who brings you to the precinct) you will not be questioned about the case.

If You Are Eligible for a DAT

If you are eligible for a DAT (Desk Appearance Ticket), you will be given a ticket to come back to Court at a later date. You will be released from the precinct without seeing the judge.

If You Are Not Eligible for a DAT

If you are not eligible for a DAT (Desk Appearance Ticket), you will need to go before the Judge for an arraignment. In this situation, once the arrest processing is complete, you will be put in a cell to await transit to the Courthouse. This may take a few hours. Once at the Courthouse, you will need to wait for your arraignment.

Is It Possible for Me to Get a Desk Appearance Ticket?

It is possible to get a Desk Appearance tickets on misdemeanor cases and some low-level (Class “E”) felonies. There are however some factors that may disqualify you from getting a Desk Appearance ticket, such as:

  • Domestic Violence or Sex Crimes;
  • Open Warrants;
  • Prior Warrant History;
  • Refusal to Provide Identification;
  • Crime Against a Family Member;
  • Suspension or revocation of driving privileges possible; AND
  • Accused appears to be in distress and needs medical help.

How Do I Prepare for a Voluntary Surrender?

To prepare for the voluntary surrender, you should get a good night’s sleep and eat a big breakfast. You should also notify a family member or a friend about potentially needing to post bail on your behalf and give them your attorney’s contact information. You may want to make plans on how you will get home from the Courthouse:

  • Will someone pick you up from the Courthouse?
  • Will you take public transportation or a cab?
  • Will you walk home?

You should also review what to wear and what to bring with you for a voluntary surrender below.

What Do I Wear for Voluntary Surrender?

For the voluntary surrender, you should wear comfortable clothing and dress in layers. It is not necessary to wear a suit, however you should wear something that shows respect for a legal proceedings. You should avoid wearing expensive clothing and jewelry. If at all possible, avoid wearing shoes with laces. The laces will be taken away from you at the police station.

What Should I Bring To the Voluntary Surrender?

You should bring the following things with you for a voluntary surrender:

  • Photo identification;
  • Metrocard;
  • Contact information for your attorney, and your emergency contact;
  • Bottle of water;
  • Snacks (nothing perishable – i.e. granola bars); AND
  • Cash for transportation home (no more than $100).

When Do I See a Judge For My Arraignment?

Usually, you see the judge the same day of your arrest. If you are arrested later in the day, or if you come in for a voluntary surrender in the afternoon, you may be going to see the judge the next day. While it may feel like nothing is happening while you are waiting for the judge, that is not the case.

The police are checking your criminal history based on your fingerprints. The District Attorney’s Office is writing up the criminal court complaint and preparing the necessary notices for the arraignment. The clerk is preparing the paperwork for the judge. Criminal Justice Agency is determining what the appropriate bail conditions are and your attorney is interviewing you, reviewing the paperwork and developing a bail application.

Should I Have Bail Money Ready?

Your attorney will tell you if you should have bail ready. Some New York crimes are not bail eligible offenses- meaning, the judge cannot set any sort of bail on your case and must release you on your own recognizance. With that being said, in all other situations whether the prosecutor asks for bail will depend on the charges, the allegations and your criminal history.

Your attorney will tell you whether you should have bail ready and give you a range of what the bail amount may be. In situations where bail is significant, your attorney will coordinate with your family and a bail bondsman for getting the documents together for the bail bond.

Contact Top Rated Criminal Defense Attorneys

If you or a loved one have questions about a voluntary surrender, kindly contact us. It is important to retain experienced criminal counsel as early in the case as possible to achieve the best possible result.