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Michael J, Esq.
Michael J, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 3426
Experience:  Licensed attorney experienced in criminal matters, having represented hundreds of clients with every misdemeanor and felony imaginable.
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hi - i received a summons for urinating in public in NYC last

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hi - i received a summons for urinating in public in NYC last night. The back of the summons explicitly states this is not a crime - but is it?

Michael J, Esq. :

Hello - Thank you for contacting JustAnswer. My name is Michael; I look forward to helping you with your criminal problem today.


 

Customer:

hi there


 


So the front of my summons lists violating section as 153.9, but the back of it reads if I plead guilty it will be under Administrative Code 16

Customer:

one seems to be a crime and the other not - so how's this work?

Michael J, Esq. :

Hold on moment please.


 

Michael J, Esq. :

If the ticket states it is not a criminal charge, it would be a civil charge. You still plead guilty and pay a fine, but the charge is not criminal and it does not appear on your criminal record.


 

Customer:

even if the summons is to criminal court?

Michael J, Esq. :

Courts handle criminal and civil issues.


 

Customer:

right. What's odd is the offending code section the officer listed is different than the code listed on the back of the summons. Why is this? Is it a problem?

Michael J, Esq. :

Let me explain.


 

Michael J, Esq. :

Okay let me explain. The charge can be treated as a misdemeanor or civil penalty. If the ticket says it will be treated as an administrative one if you plea, then that's how it will be treated.


 

Michael J, Esq. :

You'll need to appear in court to confirm that, and I suggest you do, but the penalty is one that is most often handled administratively.


 

Customer:

right - the challenge is I am a Canadian here on vacation, and returning to Canada Sunday. So I can't make a court appearance. Should I send a letter confirming that is an administrative violation before I plea?

Michael J, Esq. :

You'll need to appear in court. If you don't appear, you could be charged criminally.


 

Michael J, Esq. :

I would contact the court to find out your best option. They may be able to make an exception for a visitor to the country, all depending on the policies of that Court. Most make you appear in person.


 

Customer:

so I should go to the court in person today then?


 


 

Michael J, Esq. :

That is an option. I'm not sure if they will be able to help you - they will most likely tell you to appear or ask for a continuance, but you can drop by and see what the clerk can tell you.


 

Customer:

alright, so just to clarify. The back of the complaint says that if I plead guilty by mail, "The court record of this care will show your guilty plea to an offense that is not a crime under New York law. This guilty plea will be a public record available at the courthouse."

Michael J, Esq. :

If the ticket allows you to plead by mail without appearing, that solves your problem. Plead, you'll be found guilty of a civil offense, you'll pay a fine, and be done with it.


 

Customer:

And then it lists an "Administrative Code: section 16: a violation not a crime as charged on this summons."

Customer:

ok. and nothing criminal? Nothing that immigration authorities would see should I apply for a visa in the US?

Michael J, Esq. :

I have stated several times: it is not criminal. It is administrative.


 

Customer:

Ok, sorry Michael :) As you can tell I'd like to make sure!


 

Michael J, Esq. :

It's okay. :) If the ticket says it's civil and not criminal, you can rely on that.


 

Customer:

The only curiosity is the officer listed a different offending section on the front of the ticket. Which is what concerns me.

Michael J, Esq. :

Is there anything I can help you with?


 

Michael J, Esq. :

*else


 

Customer:

just that question. I suppose I should make absolutely sure it's the back of the ticket that's right, and now what he inputted on the front.

Michael J, Esq. :

As I mentioned, it is a civil offense.


 

Michael J, Esq. :

I'm sorry, I can't explain it any other way. It's not criminal.


 

Customer:

Hmmm but 153.09 is apparently a misdemeneour


 

Customer:

it's odd. There are two sections. According to my google research one is criminal, one is civil

Michael J, Esq. :

I have addressed that issue. This is a charge that can be treated as a misdemeanor or civil penalty. You got a ticket for a civil penalty.


 

Michael J, Esq. :

If you follow the directions on the ticket you will be just fine.


 

Customer:

Ok. Thanks Michael. I'll likely walk over to the courthouse and pay the ticket in person.

Michael J, Esq. :

If you are unsure, you need to appear. The violation can be charged two ways. If it says both on your ticket, you can take the ticket to the station and ask them exactly what is being charged.


 

Michael J, Esq. :

So yes, go by the courthouse and confirm that if you plead guilty it is a civil violation. It's hard to say for sure over the Internet. Suffice it to say, it can be charged TWO ways, and you need to make sure it is being charged CIVILLY not CRIMINALLY.


 

Michael J, Esq. :

Do you understand that?


 

Customer:

Right. And then I'd like to get a confirmation in writing that it's a civil charge


 

Customer:

I do.

Michael J, Esq. :

Okay, great.


 

Michael J, Esq. :

I'll set a follow up for a couple days to see what happened.


 

Michael J, Esq. :

If I can answer anything further, let me know. Remember, I'm here to help and your satisfaction is guaranteed. If you don't have any questions and you valued my time, I'd ask you to consider rating me positively.

Take care,

Michael


 

Customer:

Yes - you've been great. Thanks.


 

Michael J, Esq. :

Great. I'll follow up soon. I really hope it's civil but it is worrisome that the criminal statute was cited. We will see. Good luck.


 

Customer:

yeah that's what's odd. I'll go talk to them

Michael J, Esq. :

Good luck.


 

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