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Can I please just ignore these tickets?
January 7, 2010 1:27 PM   Subscribe

Received two MTA Transit Adjudication Bureau (NYC) tickets for fare evasion. One for me, one for a friend who skipped the country. Can't afford them, and the info on them is all wrong. YANAL, YANMyL, yadda yadda. Kind of long, sorry.

So, two tickets, two problems.

This is what happened: I was with a friend who was visiting from France. The day before he was scheduled to leave, we were going down to the subway and his metro card wouldn't scan and the one machine wasn't taking cards and he had no cash. I said that I would go through first and let him use my card after me (I do not have the unlimited card). He misunderstood and hopped in with me through the turnstile before I could say 'no dude, wait'. Lo and behold, there was a cop, who neither of us saw. I tried to explain that my friend didn't understand and that I was trying to do the right thing, and offered to run my card through again to pay for my friend. The cop, thinking I was trying to make excuses, decided he was going to ticket BOTH of us for fare evasion.

Problem 1: French friend had to return home the next day. Cop wrote down the address of where the friend was staying incorrectly, and not his French address, and his passport number without specifying it was from France. Friend's name and passport number are barely readable on the ticket, and the address is not his.

Problem 2: The cop wrote down both my name and my address totally incorrectly and illegibly, and didn't take my license number. The only thing that is correct is my phone number.

So, questions:
French friend left the next day, and cannot pay. I too, cannot afford this ticket. What are the consequences of ignoring these, assuming they can ever find the two of us because they don't really have any identifying information for either of us? Does the NYC Transit Adjudication Bureau have the authority to cause my friend to be stopped at customs next time he visits?

I'm afraid if I try to fight this by going to the hearing or whatever it is where I can appeal the ticket, that they will then get my actual contact info, won't drop my ticket, and then I'll have to pay, which I stress, I CANNOT AFFORD (I am actually literally broke).

What should I do hive mind?
posted by greta simone to Travel & Transportation around New York, NY (14 answers total)
 
The cop wrote down both my name and my address totally incorrectly and illegibly, and didn't take my license number. The only thing that is correct is my phone number.

This may be awful advice, but I do believe I would throw that ticket right in the trash and not give it a second thought. If/when it somehow manages to catch up with you, your financial circumstances may have changed, and paying it may no longer be a problem for you. Of course, I'm sure additional fees/late charges would have accrued by that point... However, if you think that you may be able to swing at least a partial payment, I would suggest pleading your case at the hearing. In the past I've had fines significantly reduced just by showing up and being straightforward. Good luck!
posted by bahama mama at 1:40 PM on January 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


Your friend could afford to fly to New York from France, but cannot afford the fine for fare evasion (unwitting though it was)? That strikes me as unlikely. I would make sure he knows that the passport number on the ticket is correct (though only barely readable) and let him decide what to do.

If you try to fight it, I can't imagine you will manage to do so without them discovering your actual contact information.
posted by onshi at 1:42 PM on January 7, 2010


My friend's travel costs were his Xmas present from family, so he's not being a cheap ass.
posted by greta simone at 2:00 PM on January 7, 2010


What argument are you planning to give, to fight the ticket? If I'm reading this correctly, it says you can't jump the turnstile, and if the machines are broken that's not an excuse for jumping the turnstile.

As a thought, you are only responsible for paying your ticket, not your friend's. So, that drops it to $60?
posted by Houstonian at 2:09 PM on January 7, 2010


What argument are you planning to give, to fight the ticket?

The argument you should give is, I paid my fare, which is why I was able to go through the gate. Did you buy your Metrocard with a credit card? Bring your credit card bill or your receipt to prove it was yours. Your friend's ticket isn't your responsibility.

If I'm reading this correctly, it says you can't jump the turnstile, and if the machines are broken that's not an excuse for jumping the turnstile

The OP didn't jump the turnstile- it sounds like she went through one of the floor to ceiling rotating barred gates, which are impossible to jump.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 3:14 PM on January 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Did you jump the turnstile?
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 3:21 PM on January 7, 2010


If you didn't personally jump the turnstile, which is how the story sounds, you shouldn't feel bad at all for ignoring your incorrectly-written ticket. They will most likely never find you.
posted by joshrholloway at 3:25 PM on January 7, 2010


I didn't jump the turnstile. I paid, but my friend went in with me. The cop thought I encouraged him to do so, which was not the case, so he ticketed both of us.

Yes, I bought the metrocard with a credit card, and yes, it was a rotating gate, not a turnstile, but there isn't anyway to prove that I had a balance on it, though it would have been impossible to get through otherwise. The ticket doesn't say anything about what type of gate it was.
posted by greta simone at 4:35 PM on January 7, 2010


Go to court. Maybe that MTA cop has a new job, is out sick, or is on vacation. Or moved to Omaha Nebraska. The state has to prove its case against you -- you don't have to prove anything to anyone.
posted by zpousman at 5:15 PM on January 7, 2010


Do you have the original ticket or one of the carbon copies? The original is probably more readable than a copy.
posted by Nameless at 6:45 PM on January 7, 2010


The argument you should give is, I paid my fare, which is why I was able to go through the gate. Did you buy your Metrocard with a credit card? Bring your credit card bill or your receipt to prove it was yours. Your friend's ticket isn't your responsibility.
When this happens, NYPD writes two tickets, one to each person.
posted by Nameless at 7:10 PM on January 7, 2010


I'm not a lawyer, but I would ignore this ticket. I doubt that they would call you, and if they mail additional notices off to the wrong address to the wrong person, how is that going to find you again?

If you did decide to fight it, you probably can do Hearing by Mail which I did in my own Fare Evasion case (long story, but similarly not me actually stealing a fare). I did Hearing by Mail and the fine was totally dismissed.

NYPD is big on giving out tickets if they think they are getting guff from you, so I say: drag your heels. If a reminder comes in the mail somehow, then you can decide to pay it.
posted by moedym at 9:09 PM on January 7, 2010


Call the MTA. They can track when your card was used if you provide the serial number. It might be your best defense that you paid your own fare.
posted by cmgonzalez at 10:31 PM on January 7, 2010


Go to court. Maybe that MTA cop has a new job, is out sick, or is on vacation. Or moved to Omaha Nebraska. The state has to prove its case against you -- you don't have to prove anything to anyone.

It's not "court." It's an adjudication. I've had one of these tickets. You go down to the adjudication bureau and a person (not the cop who ticketed you, just a staffer whose job this is) listens to your story and decides whether or not to offer any leniency or drop the ticket. A lot of it will depend on whether they're in a good mood and/or inclined to believe you.
posted by liketitanic at 1:56 PM on April 5, 2010


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