In New York City, a desk appearance ticket, or DAT, requires you to attend an arraignment at Criminal Court. Instead of taking you to central booking to await arraignment and enter your plea, the officer will release you with a DAT that includes your court date and time. Although you can independently attend the session, this ticket still constitutes criminal charges. 

These are the most frequent questions individuals have when they receive a DAT: 

What types of charges result in a DAT? 

A new law that took effect on January 1, 2020, made DATs mandatory for certain offenses, including most misdemeanor crimes and certain felony crimes. Previously, the law enforcement officer could issue a DAT at his or her discretion. As a result, the number of these tickets has increased dramatically in the new year. 

A DAT conviction can result in jail time. Common DAT crimes and associated penalties include: 

  • Assault: Up to one year in jail 
  • Driving on a suspended license: Up to 30 days in jail 
  • Marijuana possession: Up to 90 days in jail and license suspension 
  • Possession of other drugs: Up to one year in jail and license suspension 
  • Shoplifting: Up to one year in jail and potential civil lawsuit by the store 
  • Theft of services: Up to one year in jail 
  • Trespassing: Up to one year in jail 

What happens at the court date? 

In Nassau County, you will likely have to appear at the Hempstead District Court. The judge will read the charges against you and ask you to enter a plea of either guilty or not guilty. You can bring your own attorney or work with an attorney at the court. You and your legal advocate must answer the judge’s questions and provide information so that he or she can make a determination in your case. 

What happens if I fail to appear at my court date? 

The court will issue you a warrant for your arrest, which may result in jail time. To avoid this situation, make sure that you appear in court as directed if you receive a DAT.