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DESK APPEARANCE TICKET (DAT): A desk appearance ticket is often issued for minor crimes and traffic violations. Although the officer could have arrested the individual and detained him/her, a DAT is issued in place of an arrest if the infraction is relatively minor. Desk appearance tickets require that the person who was given the ticket appear in Court on a future date.

ARREST: Arrests are generally made for more serious crimes.

In New York City, the person arrested is brought to central booking where they are processed, finger printed and detained until they appear in court. Processing in New York City ordinarily takes approximately 24 hours.

Outside New York City, the person arrested is held at the police precinct or local jail while they are processed. Processing outside New York City ordinarily takes less than 24 hours.

ARREST NUMBER: While in central booking, the person arrested is assigned an arrest number.  The arrest number is useful for locating and keeping track of people arrested. However, once the person arrested is brought before a court, the arrest number is no longer used. Anyone can find out the arrest number of an individual by calling central booking. We highly recommend you contact a lawyer first: (212) 355-2200.

CASE or DOCKET NUMBER: Once charges are brought by the Prosecutor’s Office, the case is assigned a case number or docket number. This number, along with any paperwork that was compiled from the arrest, is transferred to a court room or arraignment part where the person arrested eventually is brought before a Judge. A Case number or Docket number can be found by asking the Court Clerk. Call our office for court clerk numbers where you are located.

BOOK and CASE NUMBER: In New York City, if the person does not make bail, he or she is sent to Riker’s Island. The Department of Corrections will assign these people a booking number. You can find a person on Riker’s Island and visit them by first contacting the Department of Corrections and obtaining their booking number.