With two major airports in Queens County (JFK airport and Laguardia airport), and given the heightened security at those airports, there has been a surge in "weapons" related desk appearance tickets.

Travelers appearing at New York Airports who are found to have "weapons" such as small knives, batons, and other similar various objects they may well have forgotten were among their luggage, can often find themselves on the receiving end of a Desk Appearance Ticket and a whole lot more grief than they would imagine was justified.

"Caught" with a blade at the bottom of your purse that someone put there five years ago? Most people under such circumstances would completely understand if the blade or other object were simply confiscated and destroyed.  Most people would not usually expect to be prosecuted criminally, however.

But those who are lucky enough not to be put through the system for such offenses will almost certainly be given a desk appearance ticket for misdemeanor possession of a weapon charges.  These are criminal charges for which a criminal conviction could result and up to one year in jail imposed as a possible, although unlikely, sentence.

Aside from being required to return to New York on the court date, the Desk Appearance Ticket may not be the end of your troubles. The Federal Government (Department of Homeland Security) has a separate penalty in store for you as well - a fine that can be hundreds, even thousands of dollars.

In the wake of the 9-11-01 tragedy, the Queens District Attorney's Office takes any criminal accusation arising at an airport highly seriously. That goes double for any accusation involving a weapon, even a weapon you might consider trivial. You would be well advised to take such a desk appearance ticket highly seriously yourself.


Don Murray is one of the founding partners of Shalley & Murray, a New York criminal defense law firm with offices in New York City and Westchester County. Mr. Murray is a member of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. He has been practicing criminal defense in New York for more than 20 years. Any questions or comments about this article or seeking representation on a Desk Appearance Ticket can be directed to him directly at 347-674-1549.