Desk Appearance Ticket Defense Strategy


Strategies for a Winning Defense

As a New York City criminal defense attorney, I am often asked how desk appearance tickets are different from the standard criminal case and how that might affect the ways to defend against it. A desk appearance ticket is issued to give you a future date to appear in criminal court. It is issued instead of bringing you to see a judge right away. So, desk appearance tickets have more to do with scheduling your arraignment than the nature of your case. A desk appearance ticket may be easier for the City because it avoids the need to lodge you right away at central booking and the related strain on the arresting officer. Also, a desk appearance ticket may reduce the pressure on the court system because your case can be deferred to a time that is more convenient for the criminal court. The main value to you of a desk appearance ticket versus a traditional arrest is priceless because it saves you a night in jail and give you time to find a good lawyer.

Because a desk appearance ticket signals the start of a criminal prosecution, we take every step to thoroughly defend against criminal charges. A criminal conviction in New York is permanent and can lead to a criminal record, international travel and immigration problems, employment problems, and worse. Criminal defense often comes down to two efforts; attacking the charges by carefully reviewing the government's case against you, and showing everyone that you are a good person who is not deserving of criminal penalties.

Attacking the charges is easy for us because, as former prosecutors, we are able to analyze the relevant facts, the triggering language of the statute, and the outside factors that may influence the intensity of the prosecution. This is not as straight forward as it would seem. If you've been arrested for hitting someone (assault), you may want to argue that it was self defense because the other guy hit you first. What if the allegations don't properly make out that you assaulted anyone? Rushing into court with a self-defense claim could backfire by supporting the assault charge. Since self-defense is something that you would have to later prove, making a strategic error by claiming self-defense too early could be a costly mistake. Fortunately, a desk appearance ticket gives you time to consult with an experienced desk appearance ticket lawyer.

While your judge must keep an open mind about your guilt, the prosecutor doesn't share this restriction and they typically think that everyone is guilty. So, expect the prosecutor will take a harsh position against you by believing that you did what you are charged with and that you should be punished. The reason this matters is that the prosecutor has the power to put your case in front of a jury. If the jury convicts you, you could face harsh criminal penalties up to and including jail. An important factor that sends some people to trial while others can negotiate a favorable way out of it comes down to the attitude that the prosecutor takes with respect to you and this is often shaped by your lawyer. We advocate for our clients by showing the prosecutor that there is more to you than the charges you are facing. Defense experts usually call this humanizing and it can be effective in something as minor as a speeding ticket all the way up to a murder case. The reason it works is because you are having at least one third party (your attorney) vouch for you. Additionally, we routinely obtain support letters and other positive information about you so that the prosecutor can hear from other sources that you are of a good moral character and deserve a break. This can either cause the prosecutor to question whether you are guilty or provide a compelling reason to be lenient.

Desk appearance tickets are real criminal prosecutions that shouldn't be taken lightly. As skilled defense attorneys and former prosecutors, we will explore all available ways to get your charges dismissed or reduced. Contact us at (212) 619-3900 today for a case evaluation.