Frequently Asked Question regarding New York City Desk Appearance Tickets

Q: The Cop who arrested me said it's not that serious, is this true? A: No. If, instead of arresting you, the cop was the one being arrested, he/she would be terrified. I'd even bet that he/she would speak to an attorney immediately. This is because that cop would realize that before guilt or innocence can be determined, an arrest can cause immediate loss of employment, reputation harms, immigration / international travel problems, and lead to other more serious complications. Unfortunately the arresting officer will often say it's not that serious or make other assurances to keep you calm but, if you believe it, you could seriously underestimate the situation.

Q: Do I need a lawyer? A: Yes. If you've been issued a desk appearance ticket, it means that you were arrested, booked, and are being forced to appear for a criminal court arraignment before a criminal court judge and prosecutor. Not only is it wise to have a lawyer, it is required. Contact us for a free case evaluation.

Q: I'm charged with a misdemeanor. Is there really the chance of a jail sentence? A: Yes. The maximum sentence in New York for a class A misdemeanor is 1 year. The outcome in your case will depend greatly on the facts and circumstances of your case. It is for this reason that you should contact us to discuss your case.

Q: Can I avoid going to court? A: No. A desk appearance ticket requires you to personally appear in criminal court on the court date. Generally, desk appearance tickets cannot be "settled" before the court date. On occasion, we have resolved desk appearance tickets before the court date and avoided criminal charges but this depends greatly on the facts and circumstances of your case.

Q: Because the cop gave me a desk appearance ticket, does that mean that the case against me is weak? A: No. Desk appearance tickets are issued because they save the City money, and not because the case against you is weak. Although desk appearance tickets normally are issued for misdemeanors, we have occasionally seen felonies charged. Some cases that seem weak actually become more serious when the prosecutor adds additional charges. Contact us to discuss whether this is likely or possible with the facts of your case.

Q: What will happen on the court date or "return date" listed on the ticket? A: You will enter a large New York City Criminal Court arraignment courtroom. When your name is called, you will appear in front of a criminal court judge and prosecutor. While standing there, you will be officially charged, subjected to possible bail, potentially asked questions, the judge will decide whether or not to release you, and your case may be rescheduled for further proceedings.

Q: Do I have to worry about bail? A: Yes. You should contact us to learn about the risk of bail being set in your case. Bail is an issue that will depend on the facts and circumstances of the case and your ties to the community.

Q: Can I change the court date? A: If you don't appear in court as directed, a warrant for your arrest will be issued. This can be avoided if you contact us to discuss your situation and the reasons why you can't appear. Click here to learn more about scheduling problems and desk appearance tickets.

Q: Is there a way to avoid a record and to get my finger print records and/or arrest photo erased? A: Yes. Depending on the outcome of your case, this may be possible but only if you get your case dismissed. Keep in mind that the prosecutor has the opposite motive. They want to give you a record. Therefore, we fight carefully to keep our client's record clean.

Q: I was arrested for marijuana possession (P.L. 221.10 or 221.05) and the cop said the judge will give an ACD or ACOD, is this true? A: Not necessarily. Even if it is your first arrest, a judge is not required to give you an ACD, and some judges or prosecutors never approve ACDs. While it may be possible to resolve your case this way, never walk into criminal court assuming that an off-the-record assurance by the arresting officer will hold up. Instead, contact us to discuss the details of your case and to see whether you are eligible.

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