Many of our clients come to us after being issued Desk Appearance Tickets
(“DAT”‘s) charging them with cocaine or other drug possession
(the charge is usually “Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance
in the Seventh Degree” in violation of Penal Law section 220.03).
Most of these clients have just experienced their first arrest and are
scared and embarrassed, not only because they’ve been handcuffed
and detained for several hours, but because they are currently facing
prosecution for a class “A” misdemeanor. The two pressing
questions these clients usually have are: “what is going to happen
to me” and “am I going to have a permanent mark on my record?”
The answer to these questions depends on a variety of factors including
the specific facts of the case and the client’s prior arrest history.
Obviously, the first step for any person in this situation is to
hire a lawyer who is experienced in handling these types of cases so as to avoid incurring
any negative marks.
The first inquiry judges and prosecutors tend to make pertains to whether
or not this is the client’s first arrest. A person who walks into
court with no record will be in a better position to have their case “adjourned
in contemplation of dismissal”, meaning the case will be dismissed
and then sealed after a period of six months, assuming the client sustains
no new arrests during that time. Client’s who receive such adjournments
(“ACD”s) are usually required to complete community service
or some form of drug treatment. A key benefit to an “ACD”
is that there is no allocution (factual admission of guilt) and at the
end of the six months the case is dismissed – rendering the arrest
and prosecution a nullity. While this is obviously an ideal situation,
clients who come into court on their second or third arrests will be less
likely to receive such a favorable disposition in their case, and more
aggressive steps will need to be taken in order to achieve the same goals.
In addition to highlighting a client’s lack of/minimal criminal
record, it is also helpful for an attorney to gather information about
the client’s employment status, educational background, and any
other relevant indicia of good character in order to persuade the judge
or prosecutor that the client is deserving of a non-criminal disposition.
The important thing to keep in mind is that the facts of every case are
different. It’s up to your lawyer to highlight the relevant positive
factors when making a solid pitch in order to secure the best positive
outcome in any case.
If you or someone you know has been arrested or issued a desk appearance ticket,
contact an experienced criminal lawyer immediately and set up a consultation so that you can adequately prepare your defense.
(First Time Arrests For Drug Possession in New York)
criminal possession of a controlled substance in the seventh degree,
desk appearance ticket,