A majority of our clients are booked, processed and “put through the system,” meaning they are brought to central booking shortly after arrest and then brought out before a Judge for an arraignment on the charges. Usually, this arraignment occurs within roughly 24 hours of the arrest. Other clients are issued Desk Appearance Tickets (“D.A.T.’s”) or summonses which command them to return to Court on a future date.
In Manhattan, specifically, most arrestees are brought downtown to the 100 Centre Street Courthouse to face charges. However a smaller number of defendants are directed to appear in Manhattan’s Midtown Community Court which is located at 314 West 54th Street in Manhattan. In this blog, we cover some of the Midtown Community Court basics to shed light on what should be expected for those who find themselves in the unfortunate predicament of having to fight a charge or charges there.
Midtown Community Court was launched in 1993 with the primary objective of dealing with quality-of-life offenses, so most of the cases involve misdemeanors and/or violations. Examples of some of the common charges you are likely to face in Midtown Community Court include:
Illegal Vending (Unlicensed General Vendor and/or Counterfeit Trademarking);
While very few arrestees are “booked” and brought through the system before they appear in Midtown Community Court (although some are), most are issued DAT’s or summons.
As we have pointed out in previous blogs, it is absolutely imperative not to disregard a DAT or summons if you receive one, since failure to appear in Court results in an arrest warrant being created. Some people are lulled to sleep by the fact that they were “only” issued a ticket and either forget or disregard it’s mandate to appear several weeks or months later.
Next, anyone who is arrested and directed to appear in Midtown Community Court should consult with a criminal defense attorney prior to appearing to face criminal charges. We cannot emphasize enough how important this is, lest defendants appear and plead guilty to something that may leave them with a permanent criminal record, and/or cause them to jeopardize their careers and/or citizenship status.
When you do attend your Court date, you are going to want to bring an attorney with you for the purpose of securing a non-criminal disposition on your behalf; in other words, a case result that preserves your record and keeps it clean of any criminal conviction. Our team of former prosecutors are familiar with the judges, court staff and infrastructure of the Midtown Community Courthouse, and have an excellent track record of securing such results there. Additionally, defendant’s appearing in Midtown Community Court should prepare themselves for dispositions which involve the completion of community service, enrollment in on-site social services such as drug treatment, job training and/or mental health counseling. The important thing to note is that every case is different, and often dispositions need to be reached which are custom-made for each individual client, which is why it is all the more important to consult with an attorney before making the appearance.
If you have received a summons or desk appearance ticket for Midtown Community Court or in any other court in the greater New York City area, you should contact attorneys who have experience in Midtown Community Court as well as the more traditional criminal courts. Taking steps now to preserve your record can mean the difference between losing your job, your liberty, or your citizenship status, so it’s best to be diligent and consult with attorneys who can help you.