How to deal with an NYC summons when you are moving away?
July 2, 2007 10:22 AM   Subscribe

So last week in Brooklyn, I was a block from my apartment, hopped my bike up on the sidewalk, got stopped by the popo, and now have a pink summons. But I'm moving away in a month!

So my court date is in September, and I'm moving across country very soon! When I mentioned this to the officer, he mumbled something about coming in early, but I was a little flustered and neglected to ask him to explain further.

Does anyone here have experience with this? Can I come in to the courthouse and request an earlier court date? I'm a little freaked out, because I saw in an article online that the fine is $100-$500 or 20 days in jail!

Thanks for any advice!
posted by ethel to Law & Government (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
call 311.
posted by thinkingwoman at 10:24 AM on July 2, 2007

Response by poster: thanks, thinkingwoman - I did that and they transferred me to the criminal court line, which is automated "choose this number and then call this other number" hell. I just thought if folks had specific anecdotes or advice to share, I could be better prepared for navigating the issue or perhaps going in person to the courthouse.
posted by ethel at 10:42 AM on July 2, 2007

first thing that came to mind: move as planned.
at close of business on the day of your court thing, turn yourself in at the popo in your new city "i may have a warrant for my arrest issued in new york today, could you check?" pre-arrange with your bondsman for quick spring if they say yes. the thing is, new york will have to pay to extradite you. you are not a fugitive, you are not in hiding, you're just passive-aggressive. they can't have a perpetual warrant out for you, they'll either have to pay to extradite you or drop the charges, which i suspect is the more likely conclusion. run this plan by your criminal defense counsel.
posted by bruce at 10:48 AM on July 2, 2007

Bruce: Don't you think that course of action is a bit much for a bike ticket? I'm not in NYC, but can't you just call the court and find out exactly how much the fine is going to be? Then, decide if you're going to fight it or pay it early before you move.
posted by Asherah at 11:01 AM on July 2, 2007

Since 311 didn't work, try 511.
posted by feloniousmonk at 11:16 AM on July 2, 2007

Erm, I don't really like Bruce's answer. What keeps them from leaving a warrant out on you? If you find yourself back in NYC and get pulled over (or cited for anything else where they run your ID) then you get to go to jail.

Check to see if you have the option of pleading no contest and mailing in a check.
posted by craven_morhead at 11:38 AM on July 2, 2007

go to the clerk's office. you can likely pay the fine before your scheduled appearance date if you explain. IANAL, but if this works the way it did for my friend drinking a 40 on the street, they just want your money.
posted by raconteur at 11:49 AM on July 2, 2007

Where are you scheduled to appear? If it's the community justice center in Red Hook (which handles this sort of summons for a large portion of Brooklyn including Park Slope, not just Red Hook) they are very lenient -- they tend to dismiss things like bike traffic, open containers, small quality of life issues etc. as long as you are appropriately contrite. Other judges may have similar policies. As it was explained to me on my lovely day in court, the cops have to keep up with their quotas while the judges have to keep things moving in the courthouse, so it's not worth the hassle to book everyone who walks in with a ticket for riding on the sidewalk.

I would call the courthouse (should be listed on your summons) and explain your situation; you may well get off with just a scolding.
posted by sonofslim at 12:31 PM on July 2, 2007

Oh, and if you do show up to the courthouse, wear a suit, even if you're just dealing with admin. Sounds shallow, but it opens doors and draws a measure of respect.
posted by craven_morhead at 12:34 PM on July 2, 2007

Response by poster:
Thanks everyone for your helpful answers! I'm just going to head in ahead of time and see how it goes. I'm just afraid of that pretty penny I'll be paying..

sonofslim: The summons is at 346 Broadway in Manhattan. I was in Fort Greene at the time, but oh well.
posted by ethel at 2:45 PM on July 2, 2007

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