When someone is arrested and issued a New York Desk Appearance Ticket (DATs) the charge is still similar to any other criminal case. The only difference is that with DATs, the defendant is allowed to bypass the detention process and is allowed to go home after the arrest, instead given a return date to appear in court. Once the defendant makes their appearance in court, the case is now like any other criminal case in the New York criminal justice system.
We want to make clear that even when charged with a crime, you or your family members have protected rights and that from our experience, it is in your best interest to be represented either by a private attorney or a public defender. An experienced criminal defense attorney will not only guide you through this process but also possibly help to expedite the process and possibly advocate on behalf of the defendant to be issued a DAT.
We’re standing by to help you as best we can. From our years of experience defending clients in both the Federal and New York courts, we have been able to help our clients resolve their legal issues so that they could move on with their lives.
For more information about DATs please read on so you can be aware of how the DAT process works. The more you know, the better you will be able to protect yourself, friend or family member.
The Difference between a Normal Arrest and a DAT
In New York City a defendant suspected of a criminal offence is normally arrested by the police and is processed into the system. The defendant is photographed, finger printed and held in custody for about 24 hours until his or her paperwork is processed. Then, he/she is appears in front of a judge at an arraignment hearing. An arraignment is the first appearance before a judge where the defendant is:
1. Reminded of his or her right to be represented by and attorney.
2. Read his or her charges.
3. Given a chance to plead guilty or not guilty.
4. Notified whether bail will be set or not.
In a DAT scenario, the police are authorized to skip the standard “arrest to detention to arraignment” process. The police at their own discretion can issue a defendant a DAT that allows the defendant to leave the police station and come back to court on a later predetermined date for arraignment. DATs are generally issued for violations, misdemeanors and certain E class felonies.
It is important to understand that it is up to the police to decide whether to issue a defendant a DAT or not. In making their determination they sometimes consult with the district attorneys office and consider whether:
1. the defendant had sufficient identification at the time of the arrest
2. the accusations against the defendant relates to domestic violence
3. the defendant has a prior criminal history
4. the defendant resides in New York City.
In addition, the police will also follow a list of pre-described guidelines in making their determination on whether to issue a desk appearance ticket or not.
Below are excerpts from the Police Patrol Guide regarding DAT’s.
Circumstances where a DAT will not be issued:
1. Arrest on a warrant
2. Photographable offenses (see P.G. 208-07, “Photographable Offenses”) unless prisoner is hospitalized (If DESK APPEARANCE TICKET is issued, notify borough court section concerned)
3. Prisoners under the influence of drugs/alcohol to the degree that they may endanger themselves or others
4. Family offenses – complainant/victim and offender are members of the same family/household as defined in the Family Court Act or as defined in the expanded definition of a family/household in P.G. 208-36, “Family Offenses/Domestic Violence,” AND:
1. (1) Any offense is committed and an arrest is effected
2. (2) Offender has violated an Order of Protection
3. (3) Complainant/victim requests the opportunity to obtain an Order of
Protection, OR the facts of the case indicate an immediate need to secure an Order of Protection because there is a strong possibility that violence against the complainant/victim will recur (e.g., past history of assaults against complainant/victim, statements made
by the defendant, active present hostility against complainant/victim, etc.).
5. Offender has violated an Order of Protection, OR complainant/victim requests the opportunity to obtain an Order of Protection, OR the facts of the case indicate an immediate need to secure an Order of Protection because there is a strong possibility that violence against the complainant/victim will recur (e.g., past history of assaults against complainant/victim, statements made by the defendant, active present hostility against complainant/victim, etc.)
6. Arrest for Harassment 1st Degree (Penal Law 240.25, or Menacing 2nd Degree (Penal Law 120.14) -“Stalking” offenses
7. Arrest for Criminal Sale of Marihuana 4th Degree (Penal Law 221.40) or, Criminal Sale of Marihuana 5th Degree (Penal Law 221.35)
8. Arrest for Assault 3rd Degree (Penal Law 120.00), Attempted Assault 3rd Degree (Penal Law 110/120.00), Menacing 2nd Degree (Penal Law 120.14), Menacing 3rd Degree (Penal Law 120.15), Harassment 1st Degree (Penal Law 240.25), Aggravated Harassment (Penal Law 240.30), and Reckless Endangerment 2nd Degree (Penal Law 120.20) when committed against a city/state enforcement agent performing official duty
9. Arrest for violation of Section 1192, intoxication/impaired driving subdivisions (1), (2), (3) or (4) – Vehicle & Traffic Law (except DESK APPEARANCE TICKET may be issued to eligible prisoner, hospitalized more than twenty-four hours providing prisoner did not cause serious physical injury or death to another)
10. V ehicle offenses:
(1) Arrest for Attempted Grand Larceny 4th Degree (Penal Law 110/
155.30); Class “A” Misdemeanor
(2) Intentionally damages a vehicle up to $250 (window break) when
in connection with attempt to steal auto, OR larceny of contents of
auto (e.g., radio) – Class “A” Misdemeanor.
11. Arrest for an offense which would constitute child abuse, neglect, or
maltreatment (see P.G. 215-03,”Emergency Removals or Investigation and Reporting of Abused, Neglected or Maltreated Children” and P.G. 208-36, “Family Offenses/Domestic Violence”)
12. Misdemeanor Recidivists – when a warrant check printout indicates “Misdemeanor Recid Notify DA In ECAB”
13. Aggravated Unlicensed Operation of a Motor Vehicle, 2nd Degree, (VTL 511 [a]; Misdemeanor, and 1st Degree, VTL 511  [a]; Felony)
14. Criminal Trespass, 3rd Degree (Penal Law 140.10), when in connection with a building utilized for commercial/office purposes
15. Whenever a person is arrested for threatening, harassing or menacing a uniformed member of the service, an elected official or any other city, state or federal employee
16. Arrest for Unlawful Eviction (Administrative Code 26-521)
17. Arrest for Interference with Professional Sporting Event (Administrative
Code Section 10-162); Unclassified Misdemeanor
18. Arrest for Resisting Arrest (Penal Law 205.30); Class “A” Misdemeanor
19. *Arrest for Obstructing Governmental Administration 2nd Degree (Penal
Law 195.05); Class “A” Misdemeanor (see below)
20. Whenever the OMNIFORM DAT Arrest Info Screen indicates that the
individual “owes DNA”
21. Fireworks offenses:
1. (1) Arrest for the offering, selling or furnishing of fireworks valued at $500 or more (Penal Law 270.00[a][ii]); Class “A” Misdemeanor
2. (2) Arrest for the sale of dangerous fireworks, fireworks or sparkling devices to a person under the age of eighteen (Penal Law 270.00[a][iv]); Class “A” Misdemeanor.
22. Arrest for Sexual Misconduct (Penal Law 130.20), Forcible Touching (Penal Law 130.52), Sexual (Penal Law 130.55).
The DAT process generally takes four to six hours. During this time the defendant will be incarcerated and is allowed to make up to three free phone calls in New York City or three collect calls to out of town phone numbers.