Desk Appearance Tickets in New York

Watch the following educational legal video by New York Criminal Defense Attorney Robert Aiello as he explains what happens if you’re issued a desk appearance ticket or DAT in New York.


DATs, or desk appearance tickets, are summonses that are typically issued in low level offense cases, such as misdemeanor cases where the accused person has no outstanding warrants and no prior criminal record. As a courtesy, the police department can issue a desk appearance ticket. That way, instead of being processed through the system and spending the night in jail, you go to the precinct where they photograph you, fingerprint you, and check to see if you have any outstanding warrants, summonses, or anything like that. This is often done for non-violent offenses such as a petit larceny, damage to property, and some (but not all) assault cases. This does not apply in domestic violence cases for which they will automatically put you through the system.

If you are lucky enough to get a desk appearance ticket, you’ll go down to the precinct and spend from three to four hours there, after which you’ll be released. They’ll give you a piece of paper that tells you when you are to come back to court – usually in three to six weeks. During that time, you have the opportunity to consult with an attorney and choose the one you want to represent you. It’s very important that you have an attorney present when you go to your first appearance – the arraignment – because, if you’ve been issued a desk appearance ticket, you’re being charged with a crime and you want to be sure to have an attorney representing you.

You must not go to court and plead guilty to anything that will stay with you for the rest of your life. It’s hard enough to get a job out there nowadays without a criminal record, so it’s a big mistake to plead guilty to a crime. If you can’t afford an attorney, the court will ask you a series of questions about how long you’ve been working or out of work, how much you make a week, whether you own or rent a home, and things of that sort and then assign an attorney to represent you. I always tell clients, “If you can afford an attorney, the best thing you can do is have your own attorney represent you in those types of cases.”

Robert J. Aiello is a principal and founding member of the law firm and a trial attorney.  His practice is devoted primarily to criminal defense in State and Federal Courts. Mr. Aiello has been involved in many high-profile cases throughout his career. Contact us at our Maspeth, Queens office today to schedule a free and confidential consultation with experienced New York criminal defense attorney Robert Aiello.

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