New York City Desk Appearance Tickets

As all top New York appearance ticket lawyers know, receiving a Desk Appearance Ticket (D.A.T.) by a New York City police officer and being summarily released after arrest is highly preferable to experiencing the full New York City arrest process. Rather than being placed in a holding cell for up to 24 hours to await arraignment on criminal charges, a D.A.T. allows its subject to go home just a short time after arrest. CPL § 150.20 (1). In fact, a D.A.T. may be issued in cases where there is no formal arrest. If your charge is a high volume petty offense, like the Unlawful Possession of Marijuana (NY Penal Law § 221.05), it is very likely you received a D.A.T. in this manner. It is important to note, however, that a D.A.T. is, in most instances, issued entirely at the discretion of the arresting officer, so there is generally no right or entitlement to receiving one.

If you or someone you know has been issued a desk appearance ticket for a misdemeanor or petty offense, there are a few general things that you should know.

First, a New York D.A.T. has a limited purpose. Unlike traffic or parking tickets, a desk appearance ticket is not a charging instrument. As such, it does not need to meet pleading standards for arraignment. People v. Fysekis, 164 Misc.2d 627, 629 (Sup. Ct. Bronx Co., 1995). While the misspelling of your name or address on a traffic ticket may provide grounds for its dismissal, similar mistakes on a D.A.T. will have no such legal effect. The accusatory instrument in these cases is the same as would be filed after a more formal and prolonged processing of an arrest – a criminal complaint. In fact, it is not unheard of for different or additional charges to be filed for the D.A.T court hearing than what is initially written by the officer on the New York desk appearance ticket. This is a fact that surprises many who make the all too common mistake of treating a D.A.T as a traffic infraction.

The second notable feature of a New York desk appearance ticket which should be of primary concern is the obligations it imposes on its recipient to respond. Again unlike a traffic ticket, a recipient of a D.A.T. must appear in court at the date and time specified. Unless the ticket states otherwise, a fine cannot be mailed in and the scheduled court appearance – which is an arraignment on a criminal complaint – is not optional. When your appearance at the court is impossible or impractical due to some last minute and unavoidable conflict, a retained New York appearance ticket attorney can notify the court or appear at the hearing in your absence to move for an adjournment. Without them, however, failing to appear on the specified date will result in a warrant being issued for your arrest. CPL § 150.60. And this time, no D.A.T. will be issued..

For more information on New York Desk Appearance Tickets, additional passages on what offenses are eligible and why an attorney should be retained to deal with one may be found here, here, and here.

If you or your loved one has recently received an appearance ticket for a misdemeanor or petty offense or have missed your ticketed court date, arrange a consultation with one of our experienced New York desk appearance ticket attorneys as soon as possible. We have represented many individuals at their D.A.T. court appearance and are well-versed in the consequences and remedies for failing to appear at one. Call us at the Law Offices of Jeffrey Lichtman at (212) 581-1001 today.

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