If you are like most everyone between the ages of 10 and 75, you probably check your smartphone routinely throughout each and every day for new text messages and notifications. While most of them are probably just the latest gossip on celebrity news, wouldn’t it be great if it was actually something useful? Something that could help you avoid getting arrested?
The New York criminal justice department and Mayor de Blasio’s administration asked the same questions last year, resulting in a wave of legislative changes that should benefit most New Yorkers living in the Big Apple. Most notably, when someone is required to appear in court for a minor infraction or traffic violation, they will receive a series of text message reminders, spaced out one week, three days, and one day before their court date. A fourth message will be sent out if they fail to appear in court.
What Brought About the Technology Update?
Failing to appear in court, even for the slightest of infractions, will generate an arrest warrant and even more criminal penalties. With about 40% of all people who were issued a summons in 2015 not showing up for their court dates, this meant that over 135,000 arrest warrants had to be created and implemented for this problem alone. Not only does this take police attention away from more serious criminal acts but it also hurts otherwise harmless individuals by putting arrests on their records. Mayor de Blasio recognized this problem and believes the new changes will create a “fairer criminal justice system”.
Helpful text reminders are not the only welcome updates to the criminal justice system of New York City. Rather than requiring that the violator show up in one small window of time, they can show up any time a week before their scheduled appearance; the listed court date and time is more like their final chance to show up, rather than their only chance. Each Tuesday, courts will also be open until 8:00 PM to accommodate the average person who has to work a 9-to-5 job.
The summons form has also been redesigned to more clearly state why they have been summoned, what they need to do, and where and when they should go to sort it out. Furthermore, the form has a space to include the race of the person being summoned, which is meant to track, and subsequently prevent, potential racial profiling for minor infractions.
All in all, this is actually a fairly impressive set of changes for New York City that does seem to be largely beneficial for the average New Yorker. If you would like more information, check out this full article by New York Daily News here. If you need help fighting a traffic ticket, you can turn to Gannes & Musico, LLP and our New York City traffic ticket attorneys for a free case evaluation. With our help, you may be able to save your driving record and privilege, as well as your pocketbook. Just call 877.803.2603 today.