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Hearings Frequently Asked Questions

Accessibility / Languages
Payments / Mailings
Requesting Documents or Records
Community Service
Licenses / Property


What is a Summons?

A summons is a ticket issued by an enforcement agency or citizen complainant. OATH does not issue summonses.

What should I do if I received a summons?

Read all of the information on your summons carefully. The enforcement agency that issued the summons may be able to answer your questions. The name of that agency is listed on the top of your summons.

If you have questions concerning the date, place, or time of your hearing, you may contact OATH Hearings Division at 844-OATH-NYC (844-628-4692).

How can I get more information about my summons?

For information about the summons, you may reach out to the enforcement agency that issued the summons. The name of that agency is listed on the top of your summons.

If you need information about your hearing, you may contact OATH Hearings Division at 844-OATH-NYC (844-628-4692).

How can I get a copy of my summons?

Your summons may be available on OATH's Online Summons Finder. If the summons you are looking for is not available through the Summons Finder, call the OATH Hearings Division at 844-OATH-NYC (844-628-4692) to request a copy.

My name is not on the summons but I own the property cited and I want to clear up outstanding summonses on my property. Can I have a hearing on the summonses issued to the previous owner?

You may need to appear for the hearing to explain why you think the summons was issued incorrectly. If the summons was issued to the previous owner while you owned the property, you can have a hearing.

If my name is on the summons but I do not own the property, must I come for a hearing?

Yes. The person named as respondent on the summons must appear personally or be represented at the hearing. Many summonses can be contested without attending the hearing in person. Learn more about Remote Hearing Options.

If a respondent fails to appear for the scheduled hearing, he or she will be found in violation by default and a higher penalty may be imposed.

Why am I named as respondent on a summons for property I never owned?

The enforcement agency that issued the summons can best answer this question. However, to avoid being found in violation by default, the named respondent must appear for the hearing. Through the hearing process you have the opportunity to present proof of ownership.

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Accessibility / Languages

I need a reasonable accommodation. What should I do?

Prior to the date of your hearing, call 844-OATH-NYC (844-628-4692) for assistance or email the OATH's Help Center

Is the location of my hearing wheelchair accessible?

Yes, OATH's locations are all wheelchair accessible.

I am hearing impaired. Will OATH provide a sign-language interpreter?

Yes. Before your hearing, call OATH through New York City's Information TTY line at 212-504-4115 to request a sign-language interpreter.

I do not speak English. Will OATH provide an interpreter?

Yes. New York City provides telephone access to interpreters in many languages. When you arrive for your hearing, immediately tell the clerk that you need an interpreter.

Can I submit documents in a language other than English?

Yes. You can complete all forms in the language of your choice.

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Payments / Mailings

I already paid my penalty. Why am I still getting notices?

If you have any questions, contact OATH at 844-OATH-NYC (844-628-4692).

I received a letter with a hearing date that is different from the date on the summons. What should I do?

Come to the hearing indicated on the most recent notice you received. If you are unsure of when to appear, call OATH Hearings Division at 844-OATH-NYC (844-628-4692).

How do I remove my name as owner of property I do not own? How do I stop mailings to my address for summonses issued to other people?

The New York City Department of Finance (DOF) may be able to assist you with questions about property records and ownership. You can visit DOF's website to view property record information.

Why is the amount I owe different from the penalty amount shown on the summons?

If you appeared for your hearing and were found in violation, but have not paid the penalty amount imposed, the penalty may be higher because it includes interest.

If you failed to appear for your hearing and a default judgment was entered, you will owe the default penalty amount, which is usually higher, unless your default judgment is vacated.

What does the summons status "docketed" mean?

For certain violations, OATH will file with the Civil Court of the City of New York any unpaid monetary judgments that result from a hearing or default. These judgments become "docketed" when filed. This means the City may attempt to collect on the money owed through court proceedings or by attaching liens to real property.

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Requesting Documents or Records

How can I get a copy of the decision?

Call OATH Hearings Division at 844-OATH-NYC (844-628-4692) to request a copy.
If you are not the respondent or the respondent's representative on a case, but want to get a copy of a decision, you may make a request under the Freedom of Information Law (FOIL). All FOIL requests should be submitted through the Open Records Portal.

You can expect to receive an acknowledgement of receipt of the request within 5 days of submission and a response from OATH within 30 business days.

How can I get a copy of my hearing recording?

To get a copy of the audio recording you must fill out and submit to OATH a "Request for Audio Hearing Recordings" form (available at any OATH Hearings Division location). There is no charge if the audio file is emailed. A fee of $3.00 will be charged for the audio recording if requested by mail or 25 cents per CD if picked up in person.

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Community Service

What is Community Service?

For certain types of violations, OATH Hearing Officers will offer you the option to perform community service instead of paying a monetary penalty. Performance of community service may include attendance, either in person or web-based, at a program authorized by OATH. Community service at OATH does not involve any physical activity, cleaning or work outdoors.

What type of Community Service can I perform?

The following community service options may be available depending on the type of violation:

  • An e-learning module
  • Facilitated group sessions
  • Off-site community service programs led by the Center for Court Innovation.

Am I eligible for Community Service?

You may be eligible for community service if you have received a summons for one of the following charges:

  • Spitting
  • Littering
  • Being in Park After Dark
  • Open Container
  • Public Urination
  • Excessive Noise in Parks
  • Not abiding by Park Rules

Community service is not an option if the alleged conduct was carried out for a commercial purpose, except if the charge is for unauthorized vending.

How do I request Community Service?

If you are eligible and wish to perform community service, you must attend your hearing in person and either admit or be found in violation of the charge. If you want to admit the charge, tell the clerk when you check in for your case and OATH will fast-track your case so that you can go to the Help Center and begin your community service.

You cannot request community service if you have a hearing by phone, mail, webcam or online.

How many hours of Community Service will I have to complete?

The Hearing Officer will issue a decision that states the number of hours of community service you are required to complete and the deadline to complete the community service. The number of community service hours required for specific violations can be can be found on our website.

How long will I have to complete my Community Service?

Generally, you must complete your community service by the deadline in the decision.

What if I cannot complete my Community Service by the deadline?

You will owe the monetary penalty stated in the decision if you do not complete your community service within 30 days of the date of the decision or 35 days if the decision was mailed to you. You may be granted an extension of the deadline to complete the community service, but the monetary penalty stated in the decision will still be due and owing within 30 days of the date of the decision or 35 days if the decision was mailed to you.

If I chose to perform Community Service, can I still file an appeal?

Yes. If you chose to perform community service, you may still appeal the decision. You will not have to pay the penalty in order to appeal. 

Who do I contact if I still have questions about community service?

If you have any questions about community service, please contact OATH’s Help Center using the contact information listed below.

(212) 436-0845

(718) 503-5565

(718) 923-6216

(718) 393-6044

Staten Island:
(718) 876-2314

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Licenses / Property

I am licensed with a city agency. How do I clear up outstanding penalties with OATH so that I can renew my license?

You can pay the outstanding penalties. If your case has defaulted, you can either pay the default penalty or complete a Request for a New Hearing After Failure to Appear form. If your Request is granted, you will be given a date to appear for a hearing to contest the summons.

My vehicle or other property was taken. What can I do?

OATH does not take property. You should contact the agency that took your property to discuss your options. If you received a summons, you should appear for your hearing unless you resolved the matter directly with the enforcement agency.

My property was taken when I was issued the summons. Can I have a hearing before my scheduled date?

Yes, for most cases you may appear earlier than your scheduled hearing date at the OATH Hearings Division location listed on the summons.

For summonses issued by DCA and TLC, you must appear on the scheduled hearing date.

If I received a TLC summons, will I get points on my TLC license?

If you are found guilty the Hearing Officer will assess points against your TLC license when required by law.

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