You Received a Desk Appearance Ticket (DAT) – Now What?

August 28, 2019

A Desk Appearance Ticket (DAT) is a summons issued by a police officer to appear in criminal court. If you’ve been arrested and received a DAT, speaking with an experienced attorney as soon as possible will help you navigate the criminal justice system.


DAT or Being Held for Arraignment

When police arrest a person for a criminal offense, one of two things can happen. In one scenario, a person can be fingerprinted, processed, and held for up to 48 hours until they see a judge. This first court appearance is called an arraignment. If the person is arrested on a weekend, that 48 hours can be extended to 72 hours. Most courts try to ensure that an arraignment happens well within 24 hours of the arrest.

Alternatively, an arresting officer can issue a DAT. A person can be fingerprinted, processed, and released with a summons to appear in court at a later date. In some circumstances, the person may be released without being fingerprinted or processed. And in other cases, police can require a minimal amount of bail before being released with the DAT. Usually appearance tickets are issued for minor misdemeanors and violations, but they can be issued for any misdemeanor or E felony offense.

Note that if you were issued a summons in New York City, you may be able to find information online at www.MySummons.NYC.

Sample of one type of summons issued in NYC.NYC-Summons


2019 Criminal Justice Reforms

As discussed in our recent blog, beginning next year, DATs will now be issued in the vast majority of cases. Starting January 1, 2020, all persons charged with misdemeanors or E felonies must be released with a DAT.

Being held for arraignment will still occur for those charge with higher-level felonies, violent felonies, sex offenses, bail jumping, and escape offenses. However, all persons charged with misdemeanors, non-violent felonies, Robbery in the Second Degree, and Burglary in the Second Degree must be released on their own recognizance (ROR) unless the court finds that the person poses a risk of flight.


What to Do When You Receive a DAT

The short answer is call an experienced criminal defense attorney. You may think if you received a DAT and aren’t held in jail, the charges against you aren’t that serious. This is not the case.

Particularly when the new laws take effect in 2020, you may be issued an appearance ticket for an offense that is punishable by years in state prison. And in busy courts like those in New York City, your first court appearance may be months away. In that time, valuable evidence and witnesses may be lost. Speaking with an attorney and working on your case as soon as possible are imperative when facing any criminal charge.