Is a Pink Summons Serious?

By: Don Murray

Many people assume that a pink summons is exactly like a traffic ticket and therefore not necessarily a big deal or something that would require the assistance of a lawyer. While it is true that most pink summons cases end up working out in ways that are not horrible, there is often more at stake as you walk into the courtroom than most people realize.

Many Pink Summons Charges are Crimes!

Important Update! The New York City Criminal Justice Reform Act, signed by Mayor DiBlasio on June 13, 2016,will significantly change the summons system.  Many offenses formerly considered criminal will be treated as civil offenses, punishable only by fines, in some cases community service, or one day jail.  We are currently reviewing the new legislation and preparing to update the information contained on this website to reflect the new state of affairs with many of these offenses.  Stay tuned.  There may be a time lag before the new rules take effect, so if you have received a summons prior to June 13 (and possibly for a time thereafter) the information contained here will still apply to you.  Stay tuned for an update after we have had a full opportunity to review the new rules.

More often than people might expect, the offenses charged in pink summonses are actually CRIMES. That means that if you just went into court and "plead guilty" you would be pleading guilty to a crime and you would have a criminal record. To get an idea of how unexpected charges can be crimes, just visit our page that discusses the most common summons charges and count how many are actually crimes. (The answer is many more than you would think). Urinating in Public, if charged in the Public Health Law, is a crime. Disobeying a Park Sign and being in the Park after dark, is a crime. Riding a bicycle on the sidewalk can even be a crime.

Therefore, if being convicted of a crime matters to you, then it wouldn't be crazy to seek the help of a lawyer with your case. Do you want to leave the outcome to chance?

Are You Not a Citizen?

If you are not a citizen, and you are charged with any offense, you need to be extremely careful about how it is resolved or you could find yourself in removal proceedings or your hopes of becoming a United States Citizen dashed.

Does Your Job Require Background Checks?

More and more people are required to undergo background checks periodically for their jobs. Such background checks could reveal the outcomes of pink summons cases, depending on what those outcomes are. Therefore, if your job is important to you and you know that you have periodic checks, it makes sense to have legal help, even for "just" a pink summons.

Appearing by Yourself, You May Get More Than You Bargained For.

It is often easy to imagine what you are "going to do" or "going to say" when you get to court. It is often much harder to do or say what you imagine you will if you are not familiar with legal procedure and terminology. If you are not a lawyer, and you are not familiar with the legal process or legal terminology, then you are frankly not likely to be as effective as a lawyer. If you are not as effective as you need to be in this context, however, you could end up with a criminal record. Further, your status in this country could be in question, and your ability to keep your job could be in question.

Or you could obtain legal help.

About Shalley and Murray

Shalley and Murray is the New York City criminal defense law firm that provides the information for and maintains this site. To find out more about pink summonses from an attorney from Shalley and Murray, call us at 1-718-268-2171 or review the . To learn about the broader criminal justice system in New York City in greater detail visit the New York City Criminal Defense Information site .


The content in this site is sponsored by Shalley and Murray, a new york city criminal defense law firm. Shalley and Murray is a private criminal defense law firm that can help with your pink summons case. Learn more about hiring an attorney from Shalley and Murray.

We are not the court. We provide this site for free for people who need information about pink summonses. Please feel free to call us toll free with questions about pink summonses during regular business hours at 718-268-2171.

Related New York Criminal Court Links

The following are links to related sites with more information about pinks summons cases or information about other aspects of the New York Criminal Justice System, including a link to webcrims, a way to check online where and when your case (including pink summons matter) is pending:

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