If you receive a desk appearance ticket (dat) from a Nassau County police officer, you are likely to be directed to appear in District Court in Hempstead.

The Court system in Nassau County is arranged slightly differently than the Court system in New York City. District Court would be considered the rough equivalent of "Criminal Court" in New York City, that is, the place where misdemeanor and unindicted felony cases are heard.

Unlike New York City, Nassau County uses the Desk Appearance Ticket procedure frequently. Therefore, it is probably easier to be "qualified" for a desk appearance ticket in Nassau County.

You should get to the District Court in Hempstead early in order to be on time. Try to be inside the building by 9 AM. Arraignments are held in the first floor in courtrooms that are near the circular information booth toward the center of the building near the elevators.

Desk Appearance Ticket cases are rarely resolved on the day of arraignment or first appearance in Nassau County.

If you do not bring a lawyer with you, you will have to wait for one of the public defenders to call out your name and speak to you.

Be aware that, unlike in New York City Courts, the issue of qualification for public defenders is taken extremely seriously in desk appearance ticket cases. In Nassau County, you must literally be qualified, after application and approval, for a public defender. You will generally not be able to use the services of a public defender in Nassau County if you simply appear and express the ambiguous sentiment that you don't think you can afford to hire a lawyer. Ultimately, Nassau County judges will seriously require that you represent yourself rather than appoint you a public defender if you are not qualified.


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 718-268-2171.