If you received a criminal summons (usually a pink piece of paper) in New York City, don’t treat it lightly. A summons means you are being charged with a crime. It is much more than a simple “ticket,” and paying the fine just to get things over with can be a mistake that costs you more than a few dollars. Paying a fine means pleading guilty to a crime. This can have serious consequences if you are arrested and charged with other crimes in the future, and it can impact your life for years to come.
Similarly, if you ignore the summons, you could be digging yourself an even bigger hole, one which can result in your arrest and even steeper fines and more dire consequences.
That’s why you need to act to protect yourself after you’ve been issued a summons. You need to understand the charges and learn what your options are.
At Epstein & Conroy, we help individuals who have received criminal summonses, providing sound advice and guidance that protects our clients’ rights while minimizing any negative fallout, ideally obtaining a dismissal or acquittal.
What is a New York Criminal Summons?
New York police officers frequently issue summonses for misdemeanor offenses, which in many cases carry the potential for significant financial penalties and up to a year in jail. A summons is effectively a criminal charge, and usually will direct the accused to appear in court at a later date to face that charge, either by fighting it or by pleading guilty and playing any applicable fines and court costs.
What Crimes Can Result in a New York City Criminal Summons?
By a wide margin, public consumption of alcohol is the most common summons issued by New York police, according to the Criminal Court of the City of New York. Other common offenses which frequently result in the issuance of a summons include:
- Disorderly conduct
- Unlawful possession of marijuana
- Public urination
- Operation of motor vehicle in violation of safety rules
- Unlawfully in a public park after hours
- Violations or failure to comply with fire commissioner
- Reckless driving
- Unreasonable noise
What Happens After You Receive a Summons?
The only kind of summons which allow for a plea by mail are those issued for public consumption of alcohol or public urination. Otherwise, you will need to report in person or through an attorney at the designated courthouse up to one week before the scheduled appearance date on your summons. There are six court locations in New York City, and you can only appear at the one identified on your summons.
If you or your attorney fail to show up on your appearance date, a warrant can be issued for your arrest.
At your appearance, you will be expected to plead either guilty or not guilty. If you plead guilty, a judge will advise you of the fine, and any other penalties, which you will have 60 days to pay. If you plead not guilty, a trial date will be set at which time you and your lawyer will present evidence and testimony.
How Epstein & Conroy Can Help
Our experienced New York City criminal defense lawyers advise and represent individuals who have been issued a New York City summons. We let them know their options and the consequences of each option so that they can make a fully informed decision as to how to proceed. If fighting the charges is warranted, we will assert the strongest possible defense on your behalf.