The Blanch Law Firm has extensive experience handling all types of cases that involve desk appearance tickets in all five boroughs of New York including Manhattan, Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island.

If you have any questions about Desk Appearance Tickets in New York or would like to have a free confidential consultation with one of our knowledgeable criminal defense attorneys, please reach out to us today.

What is a “Desk Appearance Ticket?”

A Desk Appearance Ticket (“D.A.T.”), also known as an “appearance ticket” is issued in lieu of a formal arrest.  If you commit certain offenses under New York Law, it is possible for the officer to issue you a Desk Appearance Ticket.

Did You Know? If You Are Issued a Desk Appearance Ticket You Have Been Arrested!

While a Desk Appearance Ticket does not require you to go through the formal arrest process, it is more serious than a typical summons from the New York Police Department. 

Even though you may not have been placed in handcuffs and brought down to a police station, if you are issued a Desk Appearance Ticket, you are considered to have been arrested.

What Does a Desk Appearance Ticket Require?

A Desk Appearance Ticket requires you to appear in criminal court on a specific date and at a specific time, often called the “return date.”  It may also require you to retain an attorney to resolve the issue.

Can I Face Time For An Offense That Stems From a DAT?

Yes, it is possible to face prison time for an offense that stems from a Desk Appearance Ticket.

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Article 150 – Desk Appearance Tickets (NY)


C.P.L. §150.10 – Definition of DAT

C.P.L. §150.10 defines an appearance ticket as written notice issued by a police officer or other authorized public servant that requires a person to make an in-person appearance in a local criminal court at a designated date and time in the future.

C.P.L. §150.20 – When is a DAT Appropriate?

C.P.L. §150.20 describes the circumstances under which it is appropriate to issue a Desk Appearance Ticket.  A Desk Appearance Ticket may not be issued for any class A, B, C, or D felony or for violations of any of the following sections of the penal law; 130.25, 130.40, 205.10, 205.17, or 205.19.

C.P.L. §150.30  – Pre-Arraignment Bail Amount

C.P.L. §150.30 describes the rules surrounding the posting of pre-arraignment bail.  The limits on bail for Desk Appearance Tickets are as follows:

    • Class E Felony: Seven hundred and fifty dollars ($750)
    • Class A Misdemeanor: Five hundred dollars ($500)
    • Class B or Unclassified Misdemeanor: Two hundred and fifty dollars ($250)
    • Petty Offense: One hundred dollars ($100)

C.P.L. §150.40 – Serving and Returning DATs

C.P.L. §150.40 describes where Desk Appearance Tickets are to be returnable as well as how and where they are to be served. All Desk Appearance Tickets must be made returnable to a local criminal court in accordance with the New York Laws. Desk Appearance Tickets must be personally served except for parking violations and violations of zoning ordinances or building or sanitation code.

C.P.L. §150.50 – Steps Serving Officer Must Complete

C.P.L. §150.50 describes the steps the serving officer must subsequently complete in order to sustain the charges. Once the officer issues the Desk Appearance Ticket, he must file an accusatory instrument in the proper local criminal court. 

If the officer fails to file this accusatory instrument with the requisite evidence and facts, the charges must be dismissed. 

C.P.L. §150.50 – DAT Charges v. The Charges You May Face

C.P.L. §150.50 also states that it is not a guarantee that the charge on your Desk Appearance Ticket is the same as the crime you will be charged with when you appear in-person at the local criminal court. 

For instance, you could get a Desk Appearance Ticket that lists a crime related to possession of stolen property, yet when you arrive in court on your return date, you may be facing charges related to larceny to some degree.

C.P.L. §150.60 – Failure to Appear

C.P.L. §150.60 describes what happens when the accused fails to appear at the designated date and time. If the defendant fails to appear, the court may issue a warrant for the defendant’s arrest. 

C.P.L. §150.70 – Fingerprinting Requirement

C.P.L. §150.70 sets out the circumstances under which the subject of a Desk Appearance Ticket would be forced to submit to fingerprinting. 

C.P.L. §150.75 – Procedure In Relation to §221.05

C.P.L. §150.75 describes the procedure for Desk Appearance Tickets in relation to one specific offense, §221.05 of the New York Penal Law.


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What Type of Offenses Can Lead to a Desk Appearance Ticket?

In most instances, a Desk Appearance Ticket is issued for a:

    • Petty offense;
    • Misdemeanor Offense; or 
    • Certain Class E felonies.

Some of the crimes that often result in a Desk Appearance Ticket include:

    • Drug charges
    • Property crimes
    • Low-Level driving offenses.

Some of the most common offenses that result in Desk Appearance Tickets are listed below:

Crime NYPL Code Classification
Petit Larceny NYPL §155.25 Class A Misdemeanor
Trespassing NYPL §140.05

NYPL §140.10


Class B Misdemeanor

Theft of Services NYPL §165.15 Class A Misdemeanor
Assault in the Third Degree NYPL §120.00 Class A Misdemeanor
Aggravated Unlicensed Operation of a Motor Vehicle NYVTL §511 Unclassified Misdemeanor
Fifth Degree Possession of Stolen Property NYPL §165.40 Class A Misdemeanor
Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Seventh Degree NYPL §220.03 Class A Misdemeanor
Criminal Possession of Marihuana in the Fifth Degree NYPL §221.10 Class B Misdemeanor

These are just some of the most common offenses that result in a Desk Appearance Tickets.   A DAT may be issued in any situation that conforms to the statutory requirements. 

For any crime that results in a Desk Appearance Ticket, you must be prepared to defend against the charges when you appear on your return date. For this reason, it is essential that you retain a knowledgeable attorney to represent you.


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Desk Appearance Ticket vs. Traditional Arrest

If you have been issued a Desk Appearance Ticket, you may feel you have dodged the metaphorical bullet of an arrest. This assessment is not entirely correct. 

Differences: Avoiding Booking and Jail

Being given a Desk Appearance Ticket as opposed to a formal arrest does save you the hassle and inconvenience of being brought down to central booking and spending the night in jail. Being free to go home is always preferable to spending the night in jail. 

Remaining out of jail can give you valuable time to find an attorney to represent you.  Avoiding a night in jail can also prevent negative real-life consequences such as the loss of employment or missing important events and meetings.

Similarities: Everything Else

In all other ways, a Desk Appearance Ticket is the same as an arrest. 

In both instances, you must be:

    • Fingerprinted at the police station;
    • Processed in the system in an identical manner to someone who was subject to a traditional arrest;
    • Your case will proceed, after arraignment, as any traditional arrestee would. 

Just because you are spared the physical arrest and the time in jail, do not underestimate the seriousness of a Desk Appearance Ticket. Take advantage of the benefit you have been given, and call us today.


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Appearing in Court

Am I Required to Appear In Person?

Yes, if you are issued a Desk Appearance Ticket it is likely that you will be required to appear in person.

What If I Cannot Appear On the Date of My DAT?

There are certain circumstances that may arise where you could have an attorney appear on your behalf. 

Example – Genuine Hardship

If you have a genuine hardship that prevents you from appearing on your return date, you may be able to complete an affidavit and avoid being physically present. 

This is an option for those individuals charged with:

    • Marijuana Possession in Public (NYPL §221.10);
    • Theft of Services (NYPL §165.15);
    • Shoplifting (NYPL §155.25); or
    • Low-Level Possession of a Controlled Substance (NYPL §220.03)

Who Do I Tell That I Cannot Appear On the Date of My DAT?

In order to qualify you must have a legitimate hardship, such as living in a far away state or country. All of this must be arranged by your attorney with an approved by the prosecutor before your return date.

What Happens If I Fail To Appear On the Date of My DAT?

If you fail to appear in court on your scheduled return date you can face severe consequences:

Issuing A Warrant For Your Arrest

Most likely, a judge will issue a warrant for your arrest. Once this warrant is issued, the local police may begin to actively seek you out. You may be arrested in a place that brings you great embarrassment and shame, such as your home or your place of employment. 

Setting Bail

By failing to appear for court, you may be considered an increased flight risk. Therefore, if you fail to appear for your Desk Appearance Ticket, it is more likely that the judge will set bail for you when you do eventually appear.  Furthermore, if the judge sets a bail amount that you cannot afford, you are likely to spend more time in jail than you would have in the first place.

Additional Consequences 

In addition to the statutorily mandated fines and jail time for each offense, there may be additional consequences for being convicted of certain offenses including:

    • Being sued personally for damages or reimbursements for the items you stole.
    • Suspension or revocation of your personal or commercial driver’s license. 
    • Difficulty with current employer and future or additional employment.

Consequences of Being a Felon

Some of the more severe Desk Appearance Tickets can be bumped up to felonies when you appear in court.

A felony conviction could impact your ability to:

    • own and possess a firearm,
    • live in any kind of government housing, 
    • use government loans to further your education,
    • vote or run for office.

We Are Here To Help, Call Us Now!

Desk Appearance Tickets may be preferable to a traditional arrest and a night in jail, but they are far more serious than many recipients realize. With the potential for fines, probation, or prison time, having a knowledgeable lawyer can make all the difference in the world. 

Take advantage of our services by retaining counsel early on in the legal process to ensure the highest likelihood of a positive outcome for yourself.

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