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A desk appearance ticket (DAT) is written notice issued by a police officer requiring a defendant to appear in court at a later date to respond to an accusation that you have committed an offense. DAT is considered as arrest. DATs are only issued for crimes in which there is little chance that the defendant will flee the jurisdiction and the crime is not severe. For example, misdemeanors which are crimes for which the maximum punishment is one year in jail. However, it can also be issued occasionally for violations, such as disorderly conduct and E felony offenses.
In the Desk Appearance Ticket procedure, the police prepare most of the paperwork in the usual way, but instead of making a person wait to see a judge for the arraignment, they give a date when the person is required to be present in court for arraignment. The advantage is that actual arrest, booking, and incarceration before arraignment can be avoided. If the defendant does not return to court on the date indicated on the DAT, the prosecution can request and a judge can issue a bench warrant for the defendant’s arrest.
The following is an example of a state law (New York) on Appearance Tickets:
1. An appearance ticket is a written notice issued and subscribed by a police officer or other public servant authorized by state law or local law enacted pursuant to the provisions of the municipal home rule law to issue the same, directing a designated person to appear in a designated local criminal court at a designated future time in connection with his alleged commission of a designated offense. A notice conforming to such definition constitutes an appearance ticket regardless of whether it is referred to in some other provision of law as a summons or by any other name or title.
2. When an appearance ticket as defined in subdivision one of this section is issued to a person in conjunction with an offense charged in a simplified information, said appearance ticket shall contain the language, set forth in subdivision four of section 100.25, notifying the defendant of his right to receive a supporting deposition.