These are some terms you may here when it comes to criminal charges, along with an explanation of what they mean:
DESK APPEARANCE TICKET [No Police Detention] – very minor crimes and most traffic violations may result in a Desk Appearance Ticket (DAT) which, like a traffic summons, permits the person to whom the DAT or Summons is issued to go home, to appear in Court on a future date.
ARREST AND DETENTION – when someone is arrested, however, for a more serious crime, and are detained by the police, they must go through the Criminal Justice System.
In New York City, that means that the person arrested is brought to CENTRAL BOOKING, [see Important Phone Numbers for contact] where they are processed, fingerprinted, and detained until it is time to appear in court.
Outside of New York City, the person may be detained at the police precinct or local jail while they are being processed or the police are awaiting finger print results.
*** Despite what police officers or court personnel in New York City may tell you, processing through the system ordinarily takes approximately 24 hours. In other locations, outside the City of New York, the procedure may take less time. But waiting is part of the procedure. Don’t become alarmed as the time passes. It’s normal.
ARREST NUMBER – While in Central Booking, a person is assigned an arrest number. This is the number by which the authorities keep track of the arrested person. Once the person is brought before the court, this Arrest Number is no longer used. You can find out the Arrest Number by calling Central Booking. See the page of Important Numbers to find the phone number for Central Booking.
CASE or DOCKET NUMBER – After charges are drawn up by the Prosecutor’s Office, the case is assigned a case number or docket number. After being printed, the case paperwork is transferred to a court room or Arraignment Part where the person arrested eventually is brought before a Judge. This CASE NUMBER can be ascertained from the Court Clerk. See the List of Important Numbers to find the phone number for the Clerk’s Office.
BOOK and CASE NUMBER [for people detained] – in New York City, if a person remains in jail, does not make bail, they are brought to on Riker’s Island. To find a person on Rikers Island and to find out the visiting schedule for such person, you must know the arrested person’s BOOK and CASE NUMBER. This Arrest Number can be ascertained from the Department of Correction. See the page of Important Numbers to find the phone number for the Department of Corrections.