Options for Fighting Your Oath Summons
Due to COVID-19, the Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings (OATH) is currently not holding in-person hearings for OATH tickets in New York City except in limited, pre-approved circumstances only.
As such, if you wish to fight your summons, you must do so online, by mail, or over the phone. If you don’t fight your ticket on or before the hearing date listed on your summons, you will be found in violation of the charge and may be subject to a higher fine. With this in mind, you should not take your OATH ticket lightly and procrastinate handling it, as you could only dig a deeper hole for yourself.
For background, OATH is New York City’s central independent administrative court that handles hearings on summonses issued by agencies such as:
- New York Police Department (NYPD)
- NYC Fire Department
- NYC Department of Environmental Protection
- NYC Department of Transportation
- NYC Department of Parks and Recreation
OATH is not part of the state court system, so if you got an OATH summons, you don’t have to treat it like a criminal charge, although, the penalties for an OATH ticket can be similar to those of a low-level crime. This is especially true if you hit a pedestrian with your vehicle. Not only could the pedestrian file a lawsuit against you and even press charges but you will also get an OATH ticket from the city.
Many people don’t realize that OATH tickets are issued for traffic accidents involving pedestrians. Therefore, be aware that hitting a pedestrian because you failed to yield or texted on the phone, for instance, prepare to face criminal and administrative charges.
How to Pay OATH Tickets Online
During the pandemic, in particular, many people find it easier to fight their OATH summons online. It is arguably more convenient and effective for people with busy schedules.
However, not all OATH summonses are eligible for an online hearing. Typically, only summonses that are issued for a violation of the NYC Health Code are eligible for an online hearing along with a handful of other violations. To see if you are allowed to have an online OATH hearing, click here to input your violation code or call our lawyers at (877) 803-2603!
For an online OATH hearing, you should complete and submit an Online Hearing Form, which requires you to fill out the following information and from there, you will receive a decision by mail up to 30 days after your hearing:
- Case type
- Summons number
- Full name
- Mailing address
- Why the summons should be dismissed
- Upload up to 3 supporting documents (optional)
OATH Hearings by Phone
You are temporarily allowed to fight your OATH summons by telling a Hearing Officer over the phone why you believe your charges should be dismissed. To support your arguments, you may email documents to OATH during your hearing. Make sure to schedule a date and time for your phone hearing before your hearing date. It may be in your best interests to consult with a lawyer to learn how to best navigate your phone hearing.
Note that OATH is only allowing phone hearings due to coronavirus concerns, and may revoke this option once the pandemic subsides. For text message reminders about your case, text OATHreminder to 474747.
Fighting an OATH Ticket by Mail
Another way you can fight your OATH summons in NYC is to send a written defense by regular mail to the OATH Hearing Division before the hearing date written on your summons. As with hearings online and by phone, you may also include supporting documents for your case. However, not all summonses are eligible for a hearing by mail. To learn if your OATH violation qualifies for a hearing by mail, please click here to input your violation code or reach out to our firm for help.
When Do I Get a Decision?
A judge will issue a decision on your OATH case on the day of your hearing or via mail within30 days of the hearing. The decision will be one of the following:
- Dismissal: The case is dismissed, no penalty imposed.
- In violation: A standard penalty is imposed.
- Mitigation: A reduced penalty may be imposed if you admit guilt at your OATH hearing and corrected the violation accordingly.
- Stipulation at hearing: For certain OATH violations, a standard penalty may be imposed if you admit guilt and agree to resolve the violation within 75 days.
- Default: Five times the standard penalty will be imposed if you don’t attend your OATH hearing.
As you can see, it is critical to your case to take your OATH summons seriously and handle it as soon as possible. While your ticket may be the last thing on your mind, it is better to tackle it sooner rather than later to avoid higher penalties. At Gannes & Musico, LLP our NYC OATH lawyer can help clients who got tickets for traffic accidents involving pedestrians, and violations concerning environmental protection, sanitation, and the NYC Health Code. With our team on your side, you will maximize your chances of getting a favorable outcome in your case!
Get started on fighting your OATH ticket by contacting our office today.