Greetings from Senegal! I’ve been taking some time off from performing here, but do want to continue adding a few legal tips to the site over the winter. The holiday season is busy down there, so if there are problems to report, let us know!
If you have the bad luck to be arrested or given a summons, it’s important to have accurate information about what you’re charged with.
Fortunately, there’s an easy way to get that information. WebCrims, a service of the New York court system, allows you to see your charges, future court dates, and other information concerning open cases with scheduled court appearances. If the police spelled your name correctly — as they intermittently manage to do — you can bring up your case. On the “Case Details” menu on the left, you can find the exact charge, the time of arrest, and any future court dates. The charges should look something like this:
|CO 1050.6 (B
|Infraction, 1 count, Arrest charge, Arraignment charge
|CO 1050.7 (J||Infraction, 1 count, Not an arrest charge, Arraignment charge
Fortunately, the “description” field has been left blank to avoid overwhelming us with information. But the number can help you figure it out. In this case, “1050.6 (B” refers you to paragraph of section 1050.6 of the MTA Rules of Conduct, and “1050.7 (J” to paragraph J of the next section. It’s important to read carefully and not be discouraged. For example, 1050.6 B above prohibits soliciting donations, but 1050.6 C specifically allows performing and accepting donations. The police can cherry-pick language that appears to justify your arrest, and it’s up to you to point out that artistic performance and tipping is allowed!
If you have any difficulties — for example if your name returns no results — there are additional resources on the WebCrims FAQ that can help you work around typos that may have occured on the NYPD’s end. Finally, if you are having a hard time figuring out a charge or finding your charges, please drop a line — we’ll be happy to help!