Every day, dozens of people in Manhattan are arrested for allegedly shoplifting at major department stores, such as Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s, Sak’s and Nordstrom. Security guards at these stores are oftentimes mistaken in their assessments and rough in their handling of suspects. As such, the experience of being apprehended by store security guards and accused of shoplifting can be jarring and traumatic. Typically, suspects are brought to a private room in the department store and interrogated by security guards. Then, they are forced to sign a trespass notice acknowledging that they are no longer welcome in the store (a warning that they could be arrested for trespassing should they ever return). Afterwards, police arrive and place the suspect in handcuffs and typically take them back to their precinct, fingerprint them, put them in a holding cell for a few hours, and then issue a Desk Appearance Ticket to the suspect and release the suspect. They are typically charged with a violation of Penal Law Section 155.25, Petit Larceny, a Class A misdemeanor carrying a maximum penalty of one year in jail.
A person who receives a Desk Appearance Ticket has in fact been arrested. The Desk Appearance Ticket (DAT) instructs the arrested person to appear in court on a future date for the arraignment, or first appearance in court. Usually these arraignment dates are anywhere from two to six weeks later. This at least gives the person some time to choose a good attorney to accompany them to court.
These cases can present numerous problems for people with particular backgrounds. For example, many of the people who receive these sorts of DATs are tourists from out of town or even out of the country. Returning back to New York for a court appearance can be difficult if not impossible for such people. Matthew Galluzzo routinely makes arrangements for out-of-town clients to appear virtually or via affidavit in these matters, and can possibly assist you if that is an issue.