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Hearings and Defaults

You must respond to a summons

Text OATHreminder to 917-451-8829 to get text message reminders about your case. If you are unrepresented and need assistance, text OATHhelp to 917-451-8829 for help.

You should respond on or before the hearing date listed on the summons. If you do not, then you will be found "in violation" of the charge by default and a higher fine may be imposed. You can respond to the summons in the following ways.

Admit to the summons

You may be able to admit to the summons and pay the penalty listed on the summons. Payment of the penalty must be made prior to the scheduled hearing date to avoid a decision finding you in default for failing to respond to the summons.

Reschedule an Upcoming Hearing

If you want to fight the summons but you are unable to fight the summons on or before the hearing date listed on the summons, then you can request that the hearing be rescheduled one time. Learn how to reschedule your upcoming hearing.

Accept a Settlement or Cure a Violation to Avoid a Hearing

Some enforcement agencies may offer you a settlement or give you an opportunity to cure a violation by a certain date to avoid a hearing. This option is not available for all types of summonses. Settlements and cures are offered by the agency that issued you the summons, not OATH, so OATH cannot answer some questions relating to these options, so it is important for you to follow the instructions on your summons or in your settlement offer if you have received one.

Note on FDNY cures: FDNY has a designated email that respondents may use to verify that their cures were properly processed by deadline and find out if they are still required to attend the OATH hearing. Respondents may email with the subject line of the email as "Cure Verification Unit" to inquire with FDNY's administrative enforcement unit.

Fight the summons

OATH hearings are informal. You do not need an attorney for OATH hearings but you can hire one at your own expense.

Below are the different ways you may be able to fight a summons that was issued to you by a City enforcement agency.

  • Latest Update: OATH is holding remote hearings, trials, conferences, and Help Center sessions. In-person appearances are also available upon request.

    All hearings must be requested and prescheduled before the scheduled hearing date. You can request a Hearing by Phone or a Hearing in Person.

      • Hearing by Phone: Most hearings are being conducted by phone. You must request your phone hearing three (3) business days before your hearing date. To request and schedule your Hearing by Phone, please fill out this online request form.

      • Hearing in Person: You can request an in-person hearing. The request must be emailed to at least five (5) business days before the hearing date. You will then receive an email with date, time and location information for your hearing. Please note that enforcement agencies that send representatives to hearings will continue to appear by phone for all hearings. No enforcement agency personnel will be present at in-person hearings.

      • Online Hearing (One-Click Hearing): You can fight your summons by sending OATH Hearings Division a defense using a simple online form. You must make sure your case is eligible and the form must be submitted on or before the scheduled hearing date.

      • Hearing by Mail: You can fight your summons by sending the OATH Hearings Division a defense in writing by regular mail. You must make sure your case is eligible and the defense must be received by OATH before the scheduled hearing date.

    OATH's Help Center is conducting remote Help Sessions. If you are self-represented and you want assistance with your case, please visit the Help Center section of this website to learn more.
Outreach Infographic

Download the above "Responding to a Summons at OATH" informational brochure in full here: (English) (Español) (اللغة العربية) (বাংলা) (中文) (Français) (Kreyòl) (한국어) (Polskie) (Русском) (اردو) (Punjabi) (Tibetan) (Wolof)