Can I go to jail for not paying a ticket for loitering? 5 Answers as of August 03, 2011

I was loitering in a subway and received a summons in N.Y.C. A court date was assigned and a fine given. I could not appear in court due to no money for transportation to the court. Can I be put in jail for not paying the fine. And will the fine increase upon my release?

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Edward  D. Dowling IV Attorney at Law
Edward D. Dowling IV Attorney at Law | Edward D. Dowling IV
this response is general information only and does not establish an attorney client relationship. However, it is possible to do jail time but you also may not have to -I would need further details to answer.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 8/3/2011
Law Office of Jared Altman
Law Office of Jared Altman | Jared Altman
A warrant might have been issued for your arrest. You should call the court where the case was pending and ask them to give you the status over the phone. Hopefully, they will. Then explain that you want to surrender and clean it up. You may have to post bail when you surrender. Probably not more than $200.00 or so. A new court date will be given and then you go to court on the new date. With the passage of time maybe all the witnesses are gone and you can get a dismissal.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 8/3/2011
Palumbo and Kosofsky
Palumbo and Kosofsky | Michael Palumbo
Can I go to jail for not paying a ticket for loitering? Yes.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 8/3/2011
Law Offices of John Carney
Law Offices of John Carney | John Carney
If you were arrested or given a summons to go to court and did not show up the judge would have issued a bench warrant. You must surrender on the warrant or you will eventually be arrested and held for 24 hours on average before you can be arraigned. You will now have a bench warrant on your record and that means that your next arrest...and it sounds like that will not be far off...will result in a $500-$5,000 cash bail. Then you will be held in custody until that case id resolved...often six months on a felony and one month on a misdemeanor. It was very poor decision making to miss a court date and not even call the court simply because you did not have two dollars for the subway. You need to stay off the streets, subway stations, and other places where the police will arrest anyone who looks like a criminal, vagrant, or drug dealer. Call Legal Aid to surrender and get the money to pay the fine. The judge will let you go if you pay the fine. I guess it's time to get a job or a rich girlfriend. Good Luck.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 8/2/2011
Rothstein Law PLLC
Rothstein Law PLLC | Eric Rothstein
If the judge set a jail alternative, you can be sent to jail. The fine does not increase for failure to pay. The courts are generally lenient as long as you are making a good faith effort to pay the fine. I suggest you voluntarily go to court and make some payment toward the fine. you will likely be given more time to pay. If you don't, you can be arrested at any time as there is likely a bench warrant for you. It is possible that the court did not issue a bench warrant but rather entered a civil judgment against you. You can call the Clerk's Office to see what happened. If the judge entered a judgment, you don't have to pay the fine; the City could try and collect if you win Lotto or a personal injury case, etc.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 8/2/2011
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