Appearance Ticket FAQs

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What to Expect if You or Loved One is Issued an Appearance Ticket in the City of Buffalo

What is an Appearance Ticket?

An appearance ticket is a written notice that is signed and issued (given) by a law enforcement official (e.g., police officer) that directs you to appear in Buffalo City Court on a designated future date and time regarding an allegation that you committed an offense.

What happens if I am issued (given) an appearance ticket in the City of Buffalo?

If you are issued (given) an appearance ticket in the city of Buffalo, it will state the date and time that you are to appear in Buffalo City Court for your Arraignment at which your presence is required.

What is an arraignment?

An arraignment is your first appearance in front of a judge after you are arrested/issued an appearance ticket. At arraignment, the judge will tell you what you are charged with and ask you questions about where you live, who you live with, your address and telephone number, whether you are employed, and other related questions. At arraignment, the judge may decide whether to continue to allow you to be released on your recognizance or, in the alternative, place a bail on you while the case is pending. This will depend upon the information mentioned above, as well as the specific criminal charge(s) against you. However, it is important to understand that if you were given an appearance ticket by the arresting officer as opposed to being taken into custody, it is more likely that the judge will continue to allow your release while the case is pending.

How do I get a lawyer for my Arraignment?

Every person arrested in the City of Buffalo is represented by the Legal Aid Bureau of Buffalo at their arraignment unless you have hired a private attorney.

How do I make sure the Legal Aid Bureau of Buffalo will represent me?

If you are arrested and issued (given) an appearance ticket in the City of Buffalo, an attorney for the Legal Bureau appears at every arraignment. You do not have to contact the Legal Aid Bureau for an attorney. The Legal Aid Bureau of Buffalo represents EVERYONE.

What should I bring to the arraignment?

Bring any documents you receive from the arresting officer (e.g., the appearance ticket) and any document(s) that you may need to verify employment and/or educational, and residential information such as a pay stub, driver license, etc. The Legal Aid attorney who will appear in court and represent you at arraignment will ask you certain questions in order to verify whether or not you qualify to be represented by our office beyond the arraignment appearance.

What happens at arraignment?

At arraignment, the court serves you and your attorney with a copy of the accusatory instruments (criminal charges) that have been filed against you. Your attorney will acknowledge receipt of this paperwork on the record (aloud) in court and enter a plea of “not guilty” to all charges against you on your behalf. The District Attorney (Prosecutor) may then let the court, your attorney and you know if they have any additional supporting depositions (sworn statements from the complainant/victim or witnesses) to serve, and/or if they are prepared to offer a plea offer to dispose of your case right then and there. More than likely, however, your case will be adjourned for a period of time to allow for the prosecution to serve discovery (evidence) that they are required to by law upon your attorney.

If the Legal Aid Attorney appearing with you at arraignment is able to determine that you qualify for our services beyond just the arraignment, he/she will give you an interview sheet that will list the days and time periods when you may come into the Legal Aid Bureau of Buffalo’s Main Office building located at 290 Main Street, Buffalo, New York, in order to sit down and talk with your attorney about your case before the next court appearance.

What happens if I am unable/fail to appear for my arraignment?

If you are unable to appear on the date and time of your scheduled arraignment, call Buffalo City Court (716-845-2600) as soon as you become aware of your inability to appear. If you fail to appear on the scheduled date and time and fail to give the court advanced notice, the judge may schedule your matter for the issuance of a bench warrant for your arrest for failure to appear in Court.

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