Who is Eligible for a Desk Appearance Ticket (DAT)?
Desk Appearance Tickets (DATs) are an incredibly relevant aspect of the New York penal code for the vast majority of offenders in the state of New York. They can be greatly preferable to other forms of arrest. A traditional arrest can lead to a defendant being locked in jail for at least 24 hours where all sorts of sordid things can happen to them. The accused then has to appear at an arraignment and post bail, or be held in jail until their trial date. This entire process is cumbersome, expensive, and opens up a defendant to numerous pitfalls and challenges.
DATs change the process and prospects entirely. The DAT is a process where a defendant is not locked up or arraigned in the traditional way. Instead, a DAT is a ticket issued by an officer where the defendant is set to appear in court on a particular date. The court appearance usually results in the judge hearing evidence and issuing a charge. In the interim, the defense attorney and the prosecutors may seek a plea bargain and both sides are given time to evaluate and shore up their cases. The defendant is not held, but an arrest warrant is issued if they fail to appear in court on the designated date. However, this opportunity is not open for every defendant. Defendants who are charged with violent felonies often do not receive even the opportunity for a DAT and are arrested and held immediately. Only certain defendants will be able to take advantage of the flexibility and openness of the DAT.
DATs are usually available to defendants who are not being charged with particularly egregious crimes. Crimes that are available for DATs include many misdemeanors, such as drug possession, weapons possession, and simple assault. Such charges are minor enough that those who are charged with them do not pose much of a flight risk. Therefore, they are not arraigned and are released, even though they are given an arrest number. In addition, there are several felonies which are also given the possibility of a DAT. These include grand larceny shoplifting and other property crimes. Again, the nonviolent nature of these crimes means that those who are being charged are not necessarily a flight risk.
DATs are also restricted to those who have local verifiable New York addresses. This requirement can be problematic for many people who are visiting New York from out of state. However, there is still the possibility that a person who does not have a New York address can obtain a DAT. New York’s status as the tourist capital of the United States means that thousands of people are arrested every year from other states, and the state wants to reduce the amount of people held in its jails before trial. Therefore, in some cases, a police officer will be lenient and will allow a defendant to claim another address of a friend or relative in the city as a temporary address. This temporary address will keep the defendant out of jail and the bail process. There still may be some hardship involved, however. The temporary address does not mean that the defendant does not have to come back to the state. Under penalty of arrest, a defendant must appear in the state for their court date if they do not have a private attorney appearing for them, no matter where they are originally from. Such a burden could lead to thousands of dollars paid by the individual, but this payment is nothing compared to the hardships associated with an arrest and bail.
Although a DAT is not as serious as other charges, that does not mean that a lawyer cannot be beneficial. Lawyers can help secure a DAT and reduce any possible charges. Attorneys can play the key role in a DAT that they can in more serious cases, ensuring that a client receives adequate representation and aiding the client in pleading down to a lesser charge. The DAT provides several weeks between arrest and trial to allow attorneys to file evidence and prepare motions. That time period can be critical in ensuring that your case is handled properly and that any problems are pointed out and resolved by defense counsel. If you receive a DAT, make sure to contact a private attorney in order to receive the treatment and defense you deserve.
May 17, 2018
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