DAT Process

NEW YORK DAT PROCESS

If you receive a Desk Appearance Ticket (D.A.T.) for a New York City violation or misdemeanor, you may be under the misguided impression that you have been given a slap on the wrist. In fact, the police may have fed this misinformation to you by telling you that the case would likely just go away. Do not make this mistake; the vast majority of D.A.T.s involve at least one misdemeanor charge. Not only could you go to jail on Rikers Island for up to one year (this is extremely rare), but the practical reality for many people is that their failure to properly handle a D.A.T. can leave them with a criminal record. If you do not address a misdemeanor arrest or D.A.T. directly and aggressively, even a non-criminal disposition can leave some form of a record that will haunt you and your career for years to come.

The attorneys at Crotty Saland, PC routinely defend clients against D.A.T. charges while recognizing that no D.A.T. is routine. Although desk appearance tickets are usually for misdemeanors, we have assisted clients who were charged with felonies ( E felonies). What is concerning about these allegations is that a desk appearance ticket only charges one particular crime or offense while you may actually face many more when you first see a judge. Compounding matters, we have seen a misdemeanor D.A.T. charge elevate to a felony crime at a client's arraignment. Whatever the charge, it is important to have an aggressive legal representation to protect your rights, your liberty and your future. Do not proceed in a haphazard or ill-prepared manner that will compound the situation you already find yourself in.

As former prosecutors in the Manhattan District Attorney's Office under Robert Morgenthau, our attorneys know the processes and procedures of the New York City criminal courts. We build on our knowledge to zealously defend our clients, seeking the best possible outcomes for them. We provide the following to assist clients seeking information about the D.A.T. process.

A D.A.T. is defined by New York Penal Law §150.10 as an order to appear in court, called a return date, to respond to criminal charges. You are not arrested and booked in the usual way. However, receiving a D.A.T. is equivalent to being arrested.

When you receive a D.A.T. from a police officer, you will be scheduled for a future court date, court time and court location to be arraigned. You will not need to appear before a judge right after your arrest, and you will not need to wait in jail to see the judge. Having said that, you will be fingerprinted and held for between three and seven hours until your release. There is usually some time that elapses between receiving the D.A.T. and the court date. This time can be well over a month. It is imperative to note that if you do not appear at the date stated on the D.A.T., the court may issue a bench warrant for your immediate arrest. Not only can this complicate your current case, but new charges can be pursued should you not appear. In fact, should you not appear, not only will you likely contend with a bench warrant requiring your immediate arrest, but prosecutors may have the ability to charge you with violating New York Penal Law 215.58 - Failing to Respond to a Desk Appearance Ticket. If you have a legitimate reason as to why you cannot be in court, it is critical to consult with an attorney beforehand. In fact, our criminal attorneys have appeared on behalf of clients and avoided the issuance of bench warrants.

When you receive a D.A.T. from a police officer, you will be scheduled for a future court date, court time and court location to be arraigned. You will not need to appear before a judge right after your arrest, and you will not need to wait in jail to see the judge. Having said that, you will be fingerprinted and held for between three and seven hours until your release. There is usually some time that elapses between receiving the D.A.T. and the court date. This time can be well over a month. It is imperative to note that if you do not appear at the date stated on the D.A.T., the court may issue a bench warrant for your immediate arrest. Not only can this complicate your current case, but new charges can be pursued should you not appear. In fact, should you not appear, not only will you likely contend with a bench warrant requiring your immediate arrest, but prosecutors may have the ability to charge you with violating New York Penal Law 215.58 - Failing to Respond to a Desk Appearance Ticket. If you have a legitimate reason as to why you cannot be in court, it is critical to consult with an attorney beforehand. In fact, our criminal attorneys have appeared on behalf of clients and avoided the issuance of bench warrants.

When you appear in court, ideally with a criminal lawyer who understands the process, you should plead not guilty unless your attorney has been able to work out a disposition with the prosecutor. This is something you should address with your counsel in depth prior to arriving in court. Obviously, waiting for a public defender or retaining counsel immediately prior to your appearance may hinder your ability to work out a favorable disposition or even beat the case in its entirety. Not only can evidence be lost, but critical information may not be thoroughly vetted. Moreover, your lawyer's ability to ultimately explain to the prosecutor and the court the evidence or mitigating factors in your case may be severely compromised if you are meeting your attorney moments before your arraignment.

After you have pleaded not guilty, the judge will decide whether to set bail, and your case will then follow the usual process for any criminal charge. Generally, the case will be adjourned for the prosecution to file corroborating paperwork such as an affidavit or laboratory report, or for your attorney to file motions to dismiss or challenge evidence. Alternatively, your case may be adjourned for a trial. What steps and actions you believe are appropriate in your case are issues that should optimally be addressed prior to even appearing in court. What happens at your arraignment may change the course of your case.

If you are convicted of the violation, misdemeanor or E felony, the potential consequences are the same as if your case had followed the standard process. The punishment can include:

  • Fines
  • Community service
  • Probation
  • Jail

For all of our clients, the most significant consequence of receiving a desk appearance ticket is having criminal record. This can negatively affect their ability to obtain certain jobs or obtain professional licenses. However, it is not merely a conviction that can derail their careers, as non-criminal violations also have devastating potential. That is why it is so important to have a lawyer who will investigate the facts and develop a strategy that seeks reduced or dismissed charges.

Our law firm serves clients in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Bronx, Queens and Westchester County. Call us at 212.312.7129 or contact us online today to learn more about the New York D.A.T. Process.

Additional and extensive information on New York City Desk Appearance Tickets, statutes and laws is located on Crotty Saland, PC's New York Criminal Lawyer Blog and the Desk Appearance Ticket section.