Understanding The New York Desk Appearance Ticket (DAT)

A Bronx Criminal Defense Attorney Explains DATs

In some cases, you may be arrested for a crime, but not brought in and booked in jail. Instead, the officer will issue you a Desk Appearance Ticket (DAT), which requires you to appear before a judge in criminal court at a future date. Although DATs are issued only for minor violations and less-serious crimes, it is important to understand that DATs can still be tied to serious charges that have long-term consequences, including:

  • Prison time
  • Fines
  • Probation
  • Immigration issues
  • Employment issues
  • A mark on your record

If you have been issued a Desk Appearance Ticket, you may wish to enlist the help of a New York defense attorney. A defense attorney can assist you in understanding your charges, making a plan for approaching those chargers, and following through with that plan. At the Law Offices of Jason A. Steinberger, our legal team is dedicated to helping those who have received DATs to secure a fair and just outcome.

We offer private, complimentary case reviews to those who have been issued Desk Appearance Tickets. To schedule your meeting with New York lawyer Jason Steinberger, please call (718) 585-2833 today.

What Is A Desk Appearance Ticket?

A Desk Appearance Ticket, also known as a DAT, is an official document issued by the New York Police Department that commands the appearance of an arrested person to appear before a judge in criminal court for arraignment on a future date. Whereas most of those arrested will be taken to Central Booking and then later before a judge to be arraigned, a Desk Appearance Ticket allows the person to return home to be arraigned in the future.

You may receive a Desk Appearance Ticket for a number of offenses, including violations, crimes, misdemeanors, and even Class E Felonies. These offenses may include:

  • Driving with a suspended license
  • Petit larceny (misdemeanor theft like shoplifting)
  • Harassment
  • Theft of services (like turnstile jumping in the subway)
  • Marijuana possession
  • Assault

You should note that there are some crimes that are never associated with DATs, including driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol (DUI/DWI) and domestic assault. For these crimes, you will be taken in and booked in a traditional manner.

If I Am Given A Desk Appearance Ticket, Have I Been Arrested?

Yes. If you were issued a Desk Appearance Ticket, then you were arrested. The New York City Police Department only has the authority to issue a Desk Appearance Ticket after a person has been arrested. After a police officer makes an arrest, he or she has the discretion, in certain circumstances, to issue a Desk Appearance Ticket if it is believed that the person arrested will return to court and not flee the charges.

Are Desk Appearance Tickets Less-Serious Than Traditional Arrests?

No. If you were issued a Desk Appearance Ticket, the arresting police officer simply determined that you were not a flight risk. Everything else about your charge is the same. For example, the prosecutor may still request bail at your arraignment. Additionally, the prosecutor may request a jail sentence at your arraignment or at any time after. Do not make the mistake of assuming that because you were given a DAT that your case is less-serious, or that there may not be serious consequences to your charges.

Can My Defense Attorney Negotiate A Desk Appearance Ticket With A Prosecutor Before My Court Date?

Unfortunately, in most circumstances, a criminal defense attorney cannot negotiate a disposition with a prosecutor before you are scheduled to appear in criminal court. The reason is simple: At the time when your case is drafted and ready for court, no prosecutor has been assigned to investigate the charges. In most counties, a separate Desk Appearance Ticket Unit drafts the criminal charges and the first time a prosecutor sees the case is the day of the court appearance. However, depending on the nature of your charges, a criminal defense attorney may be able to negotiate a deal on the day of your court appearance.

Take Your DAT Seriously. Hire A Defense Attorney To Help.

Just because you were not taken to central booking after your arrest does not mean that your charges shouldn’t be treated with urgency. If you are facing a court appearance after receiving a Desk Appearance Ticket, you may wish to consult with an attorney about your case. The legal team at the Law Offices of Jason A. Steinberger offers free, private consultations. To learn more about our services, or to speak to Jason Steinberger today, please call us at (718) 585-2833 or fill out our electronic contact form.