If you are charged with a crime in New York City, you may receive a Desk Appearance Ticket (DAT) or a Criminal Court Summons from the NYPD. If you are given a DAT or a Criminal Court Summons, you will need to be represented by a Nassau County criminal defense lawyer.

A Desk Appearance Ticket or a Criminal Court Summons from the NYPD is an order to appear in court at a specific time and place. You can’t ignore or overlook a DAT or a Criminal Court Summons. If you fail to appear in court as ordered, the judge can issue a warrant for your arrest.

What Is A “Violation” In New York City?

What’s the difference between a DAT and a Summons? If you’re charged in New York City with a “violation” – something that is not considered a crime, like unlawful marijuana possession or disorderly conduct – you’ll probably receive a Criminal Court Summons and not be taken to jail.

A conviction for a violation does not create a criminal record. However, if you ignore a Criminal Court Summons and fail to appear in court regarding a violation, a warrant may be issued for your arrest, and your legal troubles will be more serious.

If you are charged with a violent felony or a sex crime in New York City, you will probably be arrested and held in police custody until your arraignment. A person who doesn’t receive a Desk Appearance Ticket after an arrest is supposed to have an arraignment hearing within 24 hours.

What, Exactly, Does A Desk Appearance Ticket Do?

But if the charge is a nonviolent felony or a misdemeanor like theft or simple assault, you will be given a Desk Appearance Ticket instead of being held in custody. Once the arraignment hearing has been conducted, a Desk Appearance Ticket case is handled like any other criminal case.

Don’t let the word “ticket” confuse you. Desk Appearance Tickets are nothing like traffic tickets, and they are considerably more serious. Receiving a Desk Appearance Ticket, in other words, is the alternative to sitting in jail from the time of your arrest until your arraignment hearing.

Desk Appearance Tickets are issued by the New York Police Department after arrests for misdemeanor charges and for many felony charges. A Desk Appearance Ticket orders someone to appear in criminal court for an arraignment, usually within two to three weeks.

Like a Criminal Court Summons, a Desk Appearance Ticket saves taxpayer dollars by allowing a defendant to stay out of jail while awaiting arraignment.

What Else Should You Know About Desk Appearance Tickets?

Almost any misdemeanor in New York City, and a number of felonies, are now handled with a Desk Appearance Ticket. Receiving a Desk Appearance Ticket means that you do not have to remain in police custody until your arraignment date (the “return date” on the ticket).

The DAT tells you when and where to appear for your arraignment. If you do not appear at your arraignment, the judge can issue a warrant for your arrest. You will be taken into custody and subjected to the formal arrest process, and you will face additional charges and penalties.

Desk Appearance Tickets are issued in New York City for most misdemeanors and for some Class E felonies. Most misdemeanors in New York are punishable upon conviction with up to a year in jail. Class E felonies are punishable upon conviction with up to four years in prison.

Why Are Even More Desk Appearance Tickets Now Being Issued?

As of January 1, 2020, new rules adopted by the New York State Legislature have substantially expanded the use of Desk Appearance Tickets. The vast majority of misdemeanors in New York City – and now even more felony charges – require the issuance of Desk Appearance Tickets.

The decision to issue a Desk Appearance Ticket is now no longer discretionary with the NYPD in most cases. It’s mandatory under the new rules. The main exceptions to the mandatory Desk Appearance Ticket requirement are sex offenses and crimes of domestic violence.

Even previous criminal convictions no longer prevent a person from receiving a Desk Appearance Ticket as long as the other conditions for a DAT are satisfied.

What Happens If You Ignore A Desk Appearance Ticket?

Do not make the mistake of ignoring a Desk Appearance Ticket or a Criminal Court Summons – or thinking that it will magically go away. It won’t, and if you ignore a DAT or a Summons, you will face additional charges that could have harsh repercussions – like jail or prison.

While you are waiting for your arraignment hearing, do not speak to the police about your case. Don’t resist the police in any way, but politely insist on your right to remain silent and to have your lawyer present for any questioning.

Don’t even think about trying to represent yourself. Too much is at stake, the law is too complicated, and anything you say can be twisted and used against you.

Don’t admit to anything or agree to any plea deal with a prosecutor before you’ve consulted with a Nassau County criminal defense lawyer. Use the time before your arraignment to contact and consult the right lawyer. Then let your lawyer do the talking and negotiating on your behalf.

How Will The Right Attorney Help You?

A good defense attorney will explain and protect your rights, spell out your legal options, fight aggressively in your best interests, and bring your case to its best possible outcome. Remember, you can only be convicted of a crime if the state can prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

If your attorney cannot have the charge against you dropped or dismissed, you have the right to insist on a trial where your attorney will ask jurors to return a not guilty verdict. However, if the evidence against you is overwhelming, your attorney may recommend accepting a plea deal.

Being charged with a crime can be frightening; the anxiety and worry can be overwhelming. The criminal justice system can be extremely harsh, and the prosecutor’s job is to convict you. You can’t risk your freedom and future on an untested attorney.

A Good Attorney’s Help Is Your Right

When you’re charged with a crime in the State of New York, selecting the right attorney can make all the difference to the outcome of your case.

You will need to choose a Nassau County defense attorney who has considerable experience – and considerable success – defending the accused in Nassau County, Long Island, and New York City.