Cycling and bicycle discussion forums. 
   Click here to join our community Log in to access your Control Panel  


Go Back   > >

General Cycling Discussion Have a cycling related question or comment that doesn't fit in one of the other specialty forums? Drop on in and post in here! When possible, please select the forum above that most fits your post!

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 04-16-13, 09:07 AM   #1
endymion
Newbie
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Bikes:
Posts: 3
Court summons for running a red light

Okay, so I got pulled over by a police car this morning for running a red light near the Williamsburg Bridge in Brooklyn, NYC. It's annoying and irritating, but I did run a red light, and I won't mind paying whatever ticket that would be.

But here's where it gets a bit complicated. Instead of a ticket, I got a court summons (3 months from now), and the summons read that I've violated Penal Law 240.20-7: Creating hazardous condition (http://ypdcrime.com/penal.law/article240.htm#p240.20). But I've googled it a bit, and it seems that this is the wrong law to charge me under - it should have been under the Vehicle & Traffic Law 1111D1 (http://www.safeny.ny.gov/trde-vt.htm).

Do anybody have any good ideas how I go about this? As I said, I won't mind paying whatever fine I deserve - I did break the law. But being charged under Penal Law kind of freaks me out. Should I be worried?

Thanks.
endymion is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-16-13, 09:30 AM   #2
spectastic
Supreme Adrninistrator
 
spectastic's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: inside my body
Bikes: a few
Posts: 3,433
wow. gee that's a lot of words.

I wish you the best of luck in court.
spectastic is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-16-13, 09:30 AM   #3
njkayaker
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Bikes:
Posts: 9,437
Quote:
Originally Posted by endymion View Post
Okay, so I got pulled over by a police car this morning for running a red light near the Williamsburg Bridge in Brooklyn, NYC. It's annoying and irritating, but I did run a red light, and I won't mind paying whatever ticket that would be.

But here's where it gets a bit complicated. Instead of a ticket, I got a court summons (3 months from now), and the summons read that I've violated Penal Law 240.20-7: Creating hazardous condition (http://ypdcrime.com/penal.law/article240.htm#p240.20). But I've googled it a bit, and it seems that this is the wrong law to charge me under - it should have been under the Vehicle & Traffic Law 1111D1 (http://www.safeny.ny.gov/trde-vt.htm).

Do anybody have any good ideas how I go about this? As I said, I won't mind paying whatever fine I deserve - I did break the law. But being charged under Penal Law kind of freaks me out. Should I be worried?

Thanks.
It's possible (not certain) that you are better off, fine wise, with being charged with "creating hazardous condition" law. I believe the fine for red-light running (go check on the web) is about $300 in NYC and (if you drive) would add points to your license and increase your car insurance rates.

http://law.onecle.com/new-york/penal...20_240.20.html
http://newyorkcitydefense.com/disord...-new-york.html
http://www.justanswer.com/law/2e9al-...ast-night.html
http://forum.freeadvice.com/arrests-...lp-528262.html

http://newyork.drivinguniversity.com...g-a-red-light/

Last edited by njkayaker; 04-16-13 at 09:52 AM.
njkayaker is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-16-13, 09:36 AM   #4
rumrunn6
Senior Member
 
rumrunn6's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: 25 miles northwest of Boston
Bikes: Bottecchia Sprint
Posts: 13,810
hire a NYC traffic lawyer. it's worth $300 not to let the city screw with you
rumrunn6 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-16-13, 09:45 AM   #5
Velo Dog
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Northern Nevada
Bikes:
Posts: 3,801
Quote:
Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
hire a NYC traffic lawyer. it's worth $300 not to let the city screw with you
No, it's not. Nobody's screwing with you--You admit you ran the light; pay the fine.
I'm surprised they'd tie up court time with something like this, though. I live in a much smaller city, but around here you can often just plead over the phone and send a check. you might call and ask if there's an alternative to showing up.
Velo Dog is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-16-13, 09:50 AM   #6
rumrunn6
Senior Member
 
rumrunn6's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: 25 miles northwest of Boston
Bikes: Bottecchia Sprint
Posts: 13,810
NYC is a whole other animal. they've installed red light cameras and shortened the yellow light durations. you can't even fight those tickets. they don't care who was behind the wheel, they just want their money. I say fight what you can, and use all means possible.
rumrunn6 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-16-13, 09:52 AM   #7
Wanderer
aka Phil Jungels
 
Wanderer's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: North Aurora, IL
Bikes: 08 Specialized Crosstrail Sport, 05 Sirrus Comp
Posts: 7,552
If you didn't disrupt traffic, I would just fight it.
Wanderer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-16-13, 10:02 AM   #8
FatherAlabaster
___________
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Bikes:
Posts: 217
Quote:
Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
hire a NYC traffic lawyer. it's worth $300 not to let the city screw with you
There's a shot it could be dismissed, and a better shot with a lawyer; but OP admits to running the light, so I kind of doubt it. I have a feeling the lawyer might end up costing more than the ticket. FWIW, I was biking around that area last night and noticed an increased police presence, probably because of the awful tragedy in Boston; and the PD has been stepping up enforcement in Williamsburg/Bushwick recently anyway. Just another great reason to be careful riding around here.
FatherAlabaster is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-16-13, 10:06 AM   #9
pursuance
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: SoCal
Bikes: IZip Express, GT Sanction 2.0, Schwinn beater
Posts: 229
Look into contesting it via mail(letter) , if the policeman does not offer the court a letter... it gets dismissed.
The odds are in your favor the cop will not write one. The fine should be the same if you are found guilty.


But, NYC may not offer this option for residents. It works in most States for out of towners however.
pursuance is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-16-13, 10:10 AM   #10
contango 
2 Fat 2 Furious
 
contango's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: England
Bikes: 2009 Specialized Rockhopper Comp Disc, 2009 Specialized Tricross Sport
Posts: 3,998
Quote:
Originally Posted by endymion View Post
Okay, so I got pulled over by a police car this morning for running a red light near the Williamsburg Bridge in Brooklyn, NYC. It's annoying and irritating, but I did run a red light, and I won't mind paying whatever ticket that would be.

But here's where it gets a bit complicated. Instead of a ticket, I got a court summons (3 months from now), and the summons read that I've violated Penal Law 240.20-7: Creating hazardous condition (http://ypdcrime.com/penal.law/article240.htm#p240.20). But I've googled it a bit, and it seems that this is the wrong law to charge me under - it should have been under the Vehicle & Traffic Law 1111D1 (http://www.safeny.ny.gov/trde-vt.htm).

Do anybody have any good ideas how I go about this? As I said, I won't mind paying whatever fine I deserve - I did break the law. But being charged under Penal Law kind of freaks me out. Should I be worried?

Thanks.
Don't know how your law works but I have to wonder whether there's a chance you'll walk if they used the wrong law to charge you. If you can find a friendly lawyer maybe it's worth asking a professional opinion - it may be a legal technicality but you might as well use it to your advantage.

If you want to accept a "punishment" even if you do get off on a technicality check out what the fine would have been and donate that much to the good cause of your choice. I'll bet you can find a better recipient for the money than the city coffers.
__________________
"For a list of ways technology has failed to improve quality of life, press three"
contango is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-16-13, 10:27 AM   #11
furballi
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Bikes:
Posts: 919
Always fight a ticket. As a cyclist, you must obey traffic lights. Start out with a "trial by declaration". You write up your version, and the cop must also submit his, or you will win by default. Even if you lost, you can request a court trial.

1. If the cop doesn't show up, then you win.
2. If there is no nearby vehicles that could result in a traffic collision, then you can claim that the bike is too small to trigger the hall-effect or thermal sensor to generate a green light. Again, this is a judgment call on your part. If the judge does not agree with your call, then you're stuck witht the red light ticket. Say that "I ran the red light, but only after checking for nearby traffic and pedestrian that could result in a traffic collision".

That said, if the cop shows up, then you'll have to pay the fine. A bike is not a car, so there should not be any point added to your driving record.


As for the code 240.20...he creates a hazardous or physically offensive condition by any act which serves no legitimate purpose, I would go to court and say that the bike is not a motorized vehicle (smaller size, lower mass, and slower speed). Therefore, the potential damage/hazardous condition from the bike running the red light is much less than a car. Worst case, the bike is treated like a car, resulting in a red light violation.

Last edited by furballi; 04-16-13 at 10:30 AM.
furballi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-16-13, 11:12 AM   #12
cplager
The Recumbent Quant
 
cplager's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Norwalk, CT
Bikes: 2012 Cruzbike Sofrider, 2013 Cruzigami Mantis
Posts: 3,017
Quote:
Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
NYC is a whole other animal. they've installed red light cameras and shortened the yellow light durations. you can't even fight those tickets.
I believe there are national standards for how long a yellow light must be for a given speed limit. If that length is violated, I think you could successfully fight that ticket.
cplager is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-16-13, 11:27 AM   #13
Nightshade
Humvee of bikes =Worksman
 
Nightshade's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2004
Bikes:
Posts: 5,363
Quote:
Originally Posted by endymion View Post
Okay, so I got pulled over by a police car this morning for running a red light near the Williamsburg Bridge in Brooklyn, NYC. It's annoying and irritating, but I did run a red light, and I won't mind paying whatever ticket that would be.

But here's where it gets a bit complicated. Instead of a ticket, I got a court summons (3 months from now), and the summons read that I've violated Penal Law 240.20-7: Creating hazardous condition (http://ypdcrime.com/penal.law/article240.htm#p240.20). But I've googled it a bit, and it seems that this is the wrong law to charge me under - it should have been under the Vehicle & Traffic Law 1111D1 (http://www.safeny.ny.gov/trde-vt.htm).

Do anybody have any good ideas how I go about this? As I said, I won't mind paying whatever fine I deserve - I did break the law. But being charged under Penal Law kind of freaks me out. Should I be worried?

Thanks.
If you believe you were charged with the wrong crime then you really do need a lawyer.
__________________
My preferred bicycle brand is.......WORKSMAN CYCLES
I dislike clipless pedals on any city bike since I feel they are unsafe.

Originally Posted by krazygluon
Steel: nearly a thousand years of metallurgical development
Aluminum: barely a hundred, which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?
Nightshade is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-16-13, 11:28 AM   #14
Looigi
Senior Member
 
Looigi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Bikes:
Posts: 8,943
Over the years I've gone to court to contest just about every traffic ticket I ever got (in motor vehicles), and in every case in four different states I received a reduced penalty, even if guilty. The way it works for traffic tickets can vary considerably across jurisdictions, but just showing up has gotten me lower fines and fewer points. You wind up spending a few hours in court and need to be prepared to speak in front of the court glibly, very courteously, respectfully, not argumentatively and appropriately apologetically when appropriate. Not doing so can be counter productive.
Looigi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-16-13, 11:30 AM   #15
FatherAlabaster
___________
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Bikes:
Posts: 217
Quote:
Originally Posted by furballi View Post
Always fight a ticket. As a cyclist, you must obey traffic lights. Start out with a "trial by declaration". You write up your version, and the cop must also submit his, or you will win by default. Even if you lost, you can request a court trial.

1. If the cop doesn't show up, then you win.
This may be true.

Quote:
2. If there is no nearby vehicles that could result in a traffic collision, then you can claim that the bike is too small to trigger the hall-effect sensor.
This won't work. NYC specifically forbids cyclists from running red lights, regardless of the presence/absence of nearby vehicles, and there's a high likelihood that light was on a timer. If the light is really malfunctioning, your legal course of action would be to dismount and walk your bike across the intersection, however silly that might sound.





Quote:
As for the code 240.20...he creates a hazardous or physically offensive condition by any act which serves no legitimate purpose, I would go to court and say that the bike is not a motorized vehicle (smaller size, lower mass, and slower speed). Therefore, the potential damage/hazardous condition from the bike running the red light is much less than a car. Worst case, the bike is treated like a car, resulting in a red light violation.
In NYC we have the "rights and responsibilities" of motor vehicle operators, under the law, with a couple of specific protections and certain restrictions. Apparently NYPD is giving out these tickets like candy for anything from traffic violations to mouthing off to an officer. The OP may actually be better off with this sort of ticket, especially if he's also a driver, as I don't think this violation would result in any points or insurance problems.

This is a weird place! They enforce laws in a very spotty, random way that seems to encourage minor infractions. I bet it's a money-making tactic. There's nothing wrong with fighting the ticket or some of the other advice that people have given you, but if it was me, I'd just pay the fine and move on.
FatherAlabaster is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-16-13, 11:31 AM   #16
rumrunn6
Senior Member
 
rumrunn6's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: 25 miles northwest of Boston
Bikes: Bottecchia Sprint
Posts: 13,810
re: "national standards for yellow lights"

http://queenscourier.com/2012/driver...yellow-lights/

http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/r...A2bSvVQcalErXJ

http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2...-intersections

http://www.nytrafficticket.com/blog/...-yellow-phase/

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-1...ets-fines.html

http://www.10tv.com/content/stories/...ght-tests.html
rumrunn6 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-16-13, 11:42 AM   #17
endymion
Newbie
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Bikes:
Posts: 3
Details

So, to be clear, I'm a Danish (European) citizen living and working in NYC. I'm here on a non-immigrant work visa. And I'd rather just go through this quietly and pay my dues, than risk it just to save some money. That being said, I just want to try to know how to act and what to expect, as I've never tried anything like this before.

Regarding the episode, I was very civil with the officer and did exactly as I was told, without really speaking a word. Afterwards she thanked me for "being a gentleman about it". I didn't get a fine or ticket on the spot, just a red/pink slip that summons me to court in July.

But this is what haves me a bit nervous:

Quote:
Originally Posted by njkayaker View Post
That last link says "The maximum penalty for disorderly conduct is 15 days in jail and a fine." How likely is it that this will turn out in anything but a fine?

Quote:
Originally Posted by FatherAlabaster View Post
[...] but if it was me, I'd just pay the fine and move on.
Which is what I'll most likely just end up doing.

Thanks for all the quick replys.

Last edited by endymion; 04-16-13 at 11:48 AM.
endymion is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-16-13, 12:19 PM   #18
njkayaker
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Bikes:
Posts: 9,437
Quote:
Originally Posted by endymion View Post
That last link says "The maximum penalty for disorderly conduct is 15 days in jail and a fine." How likely is it that this will turn out in anything but a fine?
I'd rate it about 100% that it's just a fine (at the worst).

Read the links.

It appears that the strategy is to go and argue (politely/courtesly/respectfully/contritely) for a lesser offence. It appears that the worse thing that will happen is being told "no".

I suspect that the cop was giving you a break especially if you have a driver's license. (From 2010 data, it appears you might be out $155.)

Last edited by njkayaker; 04-16-13 at 12:27 PM.
njkayaker is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-16-13, 12:26 PM   #19
FatherAlabaster
___________
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Bikes:
Posts: 217
^Beat me to it! +1.

I'm no legal expert, but I'll go out on a limb here and say that there's no way they will put you in jail for running a red light. There's even a chance that they'll dismiss it. I've been in court twice in the past 13 years for bike-related tickets ("riding on the sidewalk"). The first one was complete bunk and got tossed. The second was fair and square, I cooperated, I paid, no big deal. As intimidating and abusive as the legal system here can be, for something like this, politeness and cooperation are your best options. They've always worked well for me. It sounds like you handled it very well.

BTW -you NEVER have to pay a fine to a police officer on the spot. If anyone asks you to, they're shaking you down.
FatherAlabaster is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-16-13, 12:48 PM   #20
rumrunn6
Senior Member
 
rumrunn6's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: 25 miles northwest of Boston
Bikes: Bottecchia Sprint
Posts: 13,810
NYC traffic lawyers specialize in helping foreigners who don't know how to navigate "the system". you also don't have to go to court, they take care of everything.
rumrunn6 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-16-13, 01:39 PM   #21
endymion
Newbie
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Bikes:
Posts: 3
Quote:
Originally Posted by njkayaker View Post
Read the links.
Actually did read them (a lot of them turned up in my own research as well), but just wanted to be (more) sure. Will go back and have a look at them again.

Quote:
Originally Posted by njkayaker View Post
It appears that the strategy is to go and argue (politely/courtesly/respectfully/contritely) for a lesser offence. It appears that the worse thing that will happen is being told "no".

I suspect that the cop was giving you a break especially if you have a driver's license. (From 2010 data, it appears you might be out $155.)
Quote:
Originally Posted by FatherAlabaster View Post
As intimidating and abusive as the legal system here can be, for something like this, politeness and cooperation are your best options. They've always worked well for me. It sounds like you handled it very well.
Thanks again. That's what I plan to do. If you're right that she was giving me a break, that's great. Just couldn't see that for all the red tape to begin with.

Quote:
Originally Posted by FatherAlabaster View Post
BTW -you NEVER have to pay a fine to a police officer on the spot. If anyone asks you to, they're shaking you down.
I know, but I was thinking about the actual written ticket, not the payment of it

Thanks again all for all the great help and assurance.
endymion is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-16-13, 02:53 PM   #22
pursuance
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: SoCal
Bikes: IZip Express, GT Sanction 2.0, Schwinn beater
Posts: 229
Being Danish will work in your favor in court.
pursuance is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-16-13, 04:34 PM   #23
njkayaker
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Bikes:
Posts: 9,437
Quote:
Originally Posted by pursuance View Post
Being Danish will work in your favor in court.
Bringing Danish might work in your favor too!
njkayaker is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-16-13, 04:59 PM   #24
pursuance
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: SoCal
Bikes: IZip Express, GT Sanction 2.0, Schwinn beater
Posts: 229
Quote:
Originally Posted by njkayaker View Post
Bringing Danish might work in your favor too!
That works fantastic at the LBS! LOL
pursuance is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-16-13, 10:19 PM   #25
spectastic
Supreme Adrninistrator
 
spectastic's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: inside my body
Bikes: a few
Posts: 3,433
by the way, you're not alone.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jXI7170ahNI
spectastic is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off



All times are GMT -6. The time now is 06:45 AM.