The NY criminal defense attorneys and former Manhattan prosecutors at Saland Law PC have handled a significant number of Desk Appearance Tickets (DATs) and “pink” summonses for our clients. In Manhattan, these cases are often dealt with at 100 Centre Street, 346 Broadway (“pink” ticket / summons court) or at Midtown Community Court. Whether the summons or Desk Appearance Ticket (DAT) charges you with Shoplifting Petit Larceny (NY PL 155.25 or NY PL 165.40), Marijuana (NY PL 221.10), Drug Possession (NY PL 220.03), Theft of Services (NY PL 165.15), Assault (NY PL 120.00), Trespass (NY PL 140.10), or even Disorderly Conduct (NY PL 240.20), the ramifications of mishandling the Desk Appearance Ticket (DAT) is no different than if you were arrested, booked and put through the criminal justice system. That means, you can still end up with a criminal record even though you were merely given a “ticket” for a criminal act.
For the purpose of today’s entry, I will discuss the differences between the potential Manhattan courts that deal with these charges. Again, a Desk Appearance Ticket (DAT) or “pink ticket” summons in Manhattan is returnable to 100 Centre Street, Midtown Community Court or 346 Broadway.
100 Centre Street
The criminal court building houses the majority of the criminal courts in Manhattan. This building is where cases are generally arraigned (where the judge informs you of the charges) and where an accused sees the judges over the course of their pending cases. Desk Appearance Tickets (DAT) in Manhattan are returnable here as well. On the first floor of 100 Centre Street are the arraignment courts. On the date you are to go to court to deal with your desk appearance ticket you should arrive no later than 9:00 am. After going through security, you will wait in the court or outside the courtroom if it is filled to capacity. Sometimes, due to the number of cases being arraigned, the wait can be hours before you see an attorney or the judge. For this reason, and others as well, it is important to retain an attorney ahead of time. Generally, this expedites the process significantly. For more information on 100 Centre Street, follow this link for earlier blog entry.
Midtown Community Court
Located at 314 West 54th Street between 8th and 9th Avenue, Midtown Community Court often handles quality of life crimes in the area of midtown such as Times Square. The closest subway station to Midtown Community Court is the 7th Avenue, B, D or E as well as the 50th Street C or E trains. The offenses prosecuted here are misdemeanors or violations and very often deal with non-violent crimes. Although not felonies, these crimes are still punishable by up to one year jail. Make no mistake, merely because you are being prosecuted in community court by no means make the case less significant. In fact, if the case is not resolved at your arraignment, it may be adjourned to 100 Centre Street. It is important to note that crimes involving Prostitution and Escort Services often remain in Midtown Community Court and are not transferred to 100 Centre Street.
Unlike 100 Centre Street, Midtown Community Court has one court room. Although just as formal, there are significantly less cases prosecuted here and the atmosphere is not as overwhelming. That being said, if your Desk Appearance Ticket (DAT) requires your appearance at 9:30 am, get to court by 9 am because the line to get in often extends outside the building. Moreover, once inside, you will be screened and walk through a metal detector.
In addition to misdemeanors, Midtown Community Court also handles “pink ticket” summonses. Often times these cases are resolved with a fine, community service, a quality of life program or a combination of these sentences.
Located at – you guessed it – 346 Broadway, the summons court handles most “pink ticket” summonses issued by the police. This court is located between Lafayette Street and Broadway. The entrance is on Leonard Street. The closest subway station is the 6 at Canal Street and the 4,5 or 6 train at Brooklyn Bridge / City Hall. Additionally, the 1 train at Franklin Street, the A or C at Chambers Street or the R or W at City Hall are relatively close. As noted above, if your case is scheduled for 9:30 am, get online by 9:00 am. Not only can the line to go through security extend around the side of the building, once inside, you must go to the second floor and wait on another line. This line is often 25 to 50 people long. When you are done waiting, you turn in your ticket to a clerk who will advise you which court room on the second floor to go to. Because these courtrooms are small, if you are not there early there is a chance you will have to wait in the hallway as there will be no seating.
Like all of the other courts, if you cannot afford counsel one will be provided for you. Having your own counsel, however, often significantly expedites the process. Regardless, each case is handled the same at 346 Broadway as there is no prosecutor, but a retired judge who presides over the cases. These judges are judicial hearing officers who do not necessarily follow the guidelines for similar prosecutions at 100 Centre Street or Midtown Community Court. However, if you and your criminal defense attorney believe your criminal case is being treated unfairly or differently, a request can be made to have that case transferred to 100 Centre Street. This can be discussed with your counsel and may be advisable if the case cannot be resolved appropriately at 346 Broadway.
Although merely a snapshot into the different Manhattan courts, this entry addresses questions often raised by those unfamiliar with the courts. For further information or to educate yourself on Desk Appearance Tickets (DAT) or a summons, check new-york-lawyers.org regularly for updates to the blog.
Founded by two criminal defense attorneys who previously served as prosecutors in the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, Saland Law PC represents clients throughout the New York City region.