Is a New York City Desk Appearance Ticket, or DAT, an arrest? What does “Top Offense Charged” mean? Do I need to keep the appearance ticket? If I lose my DAT is that a problem? What if there is a mistake in my name or date of birth, does the Desk Appearance Ticket become invalid? Do I need an attorney or criminal lawyer at my “trial” or “hearing” when I see the judge?
Briefly, the answers to some of your questions are as follows: If you were given a Desk Appearance Ticket you have been arrested. It does not matter if you lose the ticket or there is incorrect information on the paper. A Desk Appearance Ticket merely is a way the NYPD processes lower level arrests, but crimes nonetheless. Read that twice….You have been arrested. You are charged with a crime. Whether you need a lawyer is subjective, but proceed at your own risk. Retaining counsel experienced in these matters has tremendous value. With all of that said, your first appearance is neither a hearing nor trial, but an arraignment where you are formally charged with a crime. Whether you ultimately have a trial will depend on the allegations, evidence and even your criminal defense attorney.
While extensive information relating to DATs, the DAT process, and other relevant materials is available on the websites below, the links herein, and throughout this blog, this entry will breakdown the important information contained on the face of a DAT and what it all means to you.