New York criminal defense attorneys know that a Desk Appearance Ticket (DAT) can be your best friend. Its great for the attorney who doesn’t have to go to Court in the middle of the night to do an arraignment, its great for the client who doesn’t have to be locked up for 24 hours or more while they are waiting to see a judge and its even good for the police who can process the arrest at their leisure and who do not have to worry about racking up police overtime while processing the arrest.
Briefly, a DAT in New York is simply a notification to a person arrested that they must appear in Court on a future date in connection with certain specific charges. The police officer or prosecutor will then file those charges in Court. It permits a police officer to release the person prior to the charges being filed in Court and prior to seeing a judge.
DATs are governed by New York CPL Article 150 which limits when police officers may issue Desk Appearance Tickets. In sum, they may only be issued for Class A and B misdemeanors, Class E felonies and violations. There are also some specific exceptions such as certain Escape, Absconding or Bail Jumping charges. People charged with those crimes or more serious felonies will not be eligible for Desk Appearance Tickets.
It should be emphasized that Desk Appearance Tickets are issued at the discretion of the police. Ultimately, it is the police who will decide whether or not to issue a person a DAT. Ironically, in New York City, where a person can spend more than 24 hours waiting to see a judge and winding their way through the Central Booking Process, fewer cases are DAT’d than in other places where the arraignment process can be much shorter. In New York City, charges such at DWI, DWAI, Aggravated Unlicensed Operation of a Motor Vehicle are almost never DAT’d whereas outside of New York City they usually are DAT’d.
The statute permits police officers to accept bail as a condition of getting a Desk Appearance Ticket but in New York City the police will not accept bail. Bail amounts can range as a a maximum of $750 for an “E” felony down to a maximum of $100 for a violation.
DATs are a useful tool and for a person who is going to be arrested, they can be a huge benefit. If you are going to turn yourself in to the police an experienced attorney should explore whether or not you are eligible for and whether you will receive a desk appearance ticket. In many cases everyone wins when the accused is issued a DAT.