Forgiving Fines: The NYC Amnesty Program

by Tarter Krinsky & Drogin LLP
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In an effort to collect more than one billion dollars in outstanding fines, the City of New York is offering an amnesty program that allows participants to resolve violations received from various City agencies, including the Department of Buildings, Department of Sanitation, Department of Transportation, Fire Department, Landmarks Preservation Commission and Parks Department, which have been reduced to judgments. The program is managed by the Department of Finance and runs through December 12, 2016.

Any business or individual named on a violation judgment that has been adjudicated by the Environmental Control Board (ECB) and filed prior to June 12, 2016 may participate in the program. Certain violations are not eligible for inclusion in the program – those that are part of an installment agreement or other resolution agreement for the payment of ECB judgments with the Department of Finance, the Sheriff, the Law Department or an outside collection agency. In addition, any business or individual who applied for penalty relief as part of a 2009 program and who neglected to resolve all debt will not be eligible to include any violation that was part of the 2009 program in the current program.

To qualify for amnesty, you must pay and admit liability for all outstanding violations in judgment. Those named on violations may search the Department of Finance website to find a record of the violations as well as the computation of amounts to be paid. For judgments assessed following a failure to appear for a hearing, the amnesty amount due will be the base hearing penalty without additional default penalties or interest. In the case of a judgment following appearance at hearing, the amnesty amount due is only 75% of the base hearing penalty without interest. The full amount of the amnesty payment owed must be paid by December 12, 2016. Violations are divided into two categories: Schedule A (full amnesty amount due on December 12, 2016) and Schedule B, where correction of a condition is required in addition to payment (25% of amnesty payment due by December 12, 2016 with an additional six months from the initial payment to correct the condition and pay the balance).

Additional information is available at www.nyc.gov/forgivingfines.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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