Under normal circumstances, a person who receives a pink summons or a Desk Appearance Ticket (“D.A.T.”) in Manhattan is directed to appear at either 346 Broadway (for summonses) or 100 Centre Street (in the case of a D.A.T.). In 1993, a special court was arranged to sit in Midtown to hear matters where the summoned person was issued the summons or D.A.T. within the confines of the nearby New York City Police Department Police Precinct. This courthouse, located at 314 West 54th Street, is called the “Midtown Community Court,” and presents a somewhat different experience to those persons expected to appear there.
As noted on the Court’s website itself,
“Launched in 1993, the Midtown Community Court targets quality-of-life offenses, such as prostitution, illegal vending, graffiti, shoplifting, farebeating and vandalism. Typically in these cases, judges are forced to choose between a few days of jail time and nothing at all-sentences that fail to impress the victim, the community and the defendants that these offenses are taken seriously. In contrast, the Midtown Community Court sentences low-level offenders to pay back the neighborhood through community service, while at the same time offering them help with problems that often underlie criminal behavior. The Court works in partnership with local residents, businesses and social service agencies in order to organize community service projects and provide on-site social services, including drug treatment, mental health counseling, and job training.”
This can mean that if you have received a summons or a desk appearance ticket and are directed to appear at the Midtown Court, you may be required to fulfill certain programs, i.e. drug treatment programs, in addition to whatever other consequences of the disposition that you reach. Thus, in many cases, you will be treated differently than if you were arrested anywhere else in Manhattan and directed appear downtown, at 100 Centre Street, to face your charges.
If you have received a summons or desk appearance ticket at 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.