How do you normally get a Desk Appearance Ticket?
A Desk Appearance Ticket (DAT) is a form of pre-arraignment release given by the police in New York City (and some other parts of New York State) after an arrest. Instead of detaining the arrested individual until they can be brought before a judge for arraignment, the police issue a DAT, which orders the person to return to court on a specified date for their arraignment. Here's how one normally gets a DAT:
- Eligibility: Not everyone who is arrested will receive a DAT. Generally, DATs are issued for less severe offenses, like certain misdemeanors or Class E felonies. People arrested for more serious crimes, or who have certain criminal histories, might not be eligible.
- Police Discretion: The decision to issue a DAT often lies with the arresting officer or their supervisor. They'll consider the nature of the alleged crime, the person's criminal history, and other factors. If the police believe the person is a flight risk or poses a danger, they might not issue a DAT.
- Identity Verification: The police must be able to confirm the identity of the arrested person. If they can't verify the identity or address of the individual, they might not issue a DAT. This ensures that the person will likely appear in court as directed.
- Return Date: A DAT will specify the date and time the individual must return to court for their arraignment. It's crucial to attend this court date. Failing to appear can lead to a bench warrant for the person's arrest.
- Nature of the Crime: DATs are generally given for offenses that are non-violent and deemed less severe. Common offenses that might result in a DAT include shoplifting, marijuana possession (based on previous laws before legalization), or certain cases of assault.
- Past Criminal Record: Individuals with no prior arrests or with only minor offenses in their history are more likely to receive a DAT.
- Local Procedure and Policy: While there are general guidelines, specific precincts or police departments might have policies that influence when and how often DATs are issued.
It's important to note that receiving a DAT doesn't mean the person won't face criminal charges. It only means they won't be detained until their arraignment. The individual should still seek legal counsel and prepare for the arraignment process.
Is it worth it to challenge a desk appearance ticket?
Whether it's worth challenging a Desk Appearance Ticket (DAT) depends on the specific circumstances of the case and the potential consequences of the charges. Here are some factors to consider when deciding whether to challenge a DAT:
- Nature of the Charge: Some DATs are for minor offenses, while others can be for more serious charges. The severity of the charge can influence the potential penalties and the long-term implications for the defendant.
- Evidence Against You: If there's strong evidence supporting the charge, it might be more challenging to fight the DAT. However, if there are questions about the validity or admissibility of the evidence, challenging might be beneficial.
- Potential Penalties: Some offenses might carry significant penalties, including jail time, fines, probation, or other consequences. If the potential penalties are severe, it may be more compelling to challenge the ticket.
- Impact on Your Record: Convictions can have long-term implications. They can affect employment opportunities, housing applications, or other aspects of your life. If avoiding a criminal record is crucial for you, then challenging the DAT can be worth it.
- Legal Costs: Hiring an attorney to challenge a DAT can be expensive. Weigh the potential legal costs against the possible benefits of challenging the ticket.
- Court Appearances and Time: Challenging a DAT might require multiple court appearances and can be time-consuming. This might be disruptive to your personal and professional life.
- Legal Strategy and Plea Bargains: Sometimes, by challenging a DAT, you might be able to negotiate a plea deal that reduces the charges or penalties. An experienced attorney can provide advice on the likelihood of such outcomes.
- Strength of Your Defense: If you believe that you have a strong defense or that your rights were violated during the arrest, it may be worth challenging the DAT.
- Personal Peace of Mind: For some, challenging a ticket or any charge is a matter of principle or ensuring peace of mind, knowing they did everything possible to defend themselves.
- Legal Counsel: It's essential to consult with a legal professional, like James Medows, a traffic ticket lawyer in NYC, to understand the specifics of your situation and get expert advice on how to proceed.
In conclusion, every DAT and the circumstances surrounding it are unique. It's crucial to evaluate your specific situation, preferably with legal counsel, to make an informed decision about whether to challenge a Desk Appearance Ticket.