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So, You Received a Desk Appearance Ticket… What Now? New York Bail Reform and the Necessity to Hire Effective Counsel

If I Wasn’t Taken into Custody but I Received a “Desk Appearance Ticket,” Was I Arrested?


Well… it depends. Technically you were not arrested, but you have been charged with an offense. When you are suspected of committing a crime, you are not always taken into custody. Police don’t use handcuffs or jail cells in these situations; instead, they issue a Desk Appearance Ticket. This is increasingly more common as a result of New York State Bail Reform, which took effect on January 1, 2020, and effectively rendered nearly nine out of ten cases ineligible for bail, resulting in a drastic reduction in New York’s pretrial detention population.


What is a Desk Appearance Ticket?


When you are arrested, a police officer may give you a document or a ticket called a Desk Appearance Ticket (“DAT”). It informs you of the date, time, and location for you to appear in court to answer the criminal accusation. A DAT is commonly referred to as an appearance ticket or a criminal summons.


Who Can Receive a Desk Appearance Ticket?


To help illustrate, let’s pretend that you’re driving during rush hour. As you pass through a busy intersection, a pedestrian walks off of the curb and onto the crosswalk. Unfortunately, you are unable to brake in time and your rear bumper accidentally hits the pedestrian. You continue to drive in a panic before pulling over to call the police. Regrettably, the pedestrian sustained serious injuries and as a result, you’ve been charged with Leaving the Scene of an Accident (VTL 600(2)(a)), an E felony, after being interviewed by the police. In this scenario, the police are unable to detain you on such a charge, because VTL 600(2)(a) is not enumerated as a bailable offense. They must instead issue you a Desk Appearance Ticket, which requires you to appear in court at a later date.


As illustrated above, under New York’s Criminal Procedure Law, DATs must be issued under circumstances and the arresting officer is left with no discretion but to release the individual with a DAT to appear in court at some later date.


So, What Other Crimes Require the Issuance of a Desk Appearance Ticket?


Generally, defendants charged with either a misdemeanor or E felony, and even those charged with assault or domestic violence, must be issued a DAT. However, if the defendant is the subject of an arrest warrant, they may be taken into custody, even when charged with an E felony or misdemeanor.


If Held for Arraignment, Does This Mean I Will Have to Post Bail?


No, it is important to remember that if you are taken into custody and held until your arraignment, you may still be released on your own recognizance when you are arraigned, which often occurs if you were charged with driving while intoxicated, for the first time.




New York’s bail reform hasn’t negated the importance of hiring effective counsel to represent you at the arraignment and at each step in the judicial process. The lawyers at Glynn Mercep Purcell & Morrison LLP have the knowledge and experience to ensure that you receive the most favorable disposition possible.


If you have received a Desk Appearance Ticket, contact our office at your earliest convenience.