Do I Need A Lawyer For A Desk Appearance Ticket

Have you received a Desk Appearance Ticket (DAT) and are uncertain about hiring a lawyer to assist in its dismissal?

This article covers the benefits of having legal representation at your initial court appearance regarding Desk Appearance Tickets.

Let’s begin with an overview of Desk Appearance Tickets.

What is a Desk Appearance Ticket (DAT)?

Police often issue a Desk Appearance Ticket (DAT) following an arrest, usually for a criminal offense but occasionally for non-criminal offenses like disorderly conduct.

A DAT usually requires you to return to court later.

Receiving a DAT is a preferable choice compared to being directly booked into the system, as the latter could result in spending up to 24 hours in a holding cell.

With a DAT, you’re typically in custody for a few hours while the police process the arrest and issue the ticket, which is still less daunting than spending a night in jail.

When is a Desk Appearance Ticket Issued?

A Desk Appearance Ticket (DAT) is typically given for less serious offenses where immediate court intervention isn’t necessary, such as setting bail or issuing an order of protection.

In New York under Criminal Procedure Law 150.20, police must issue DATs for misdemeanors and low-level felonies (class E). Failing to do so when required may constitute police misconduct, but exceptions exist.

For instance, domestic violence misdemeanors often bypass DATs due to the need for immediate protective orders, requiring processing through the system.

Common exceptions to the general rule mandating Desk Appearance Tickets for misdemeanors and low-level felonies encompass scenarios like:

  1. The defendant has existing arrest warrants for court non-appearance.
  2. The defendant has missed court appearances in the past two years.
  3. The individual lacks identification.
  4. The charge involves domestic violence.
  5. The charge pertains to a sex offense.
  6. The offense allows the court to suspend the defendant’s license (e.g., DUI).

Should I Hire a Lawyer for a Desk Appearance Ticket?

If you get a Desk Appearance Ticket (DAT), contact a DAT lawyer upon release.

A DAT is for criminal court cases, not traffic court, and mishandling it can lead to jail time and a permanent record.

You have the right to a lawyer, and a public defender is provided if you can’t afford one.

Hiring a private attorney has advantages. They can quickly secure evidence, critical when time-sensitive, like video footage.

Private attorneys offer detailed discussions, providing insight into potential outcomes.

DAT lawyers can assess your case early, often resulting in favorable offers or dismissals for first-time offenses, with options like community service.

An experienced attorney can help you strategize, whether accepting an offer or pursuing a complete dismissal.