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Hearing by Mail

*You must respond to your Summons.* If you wish to fight a summons, you must do so on or before the hearing date listed on the summons. If you do not appear for a hearing in person, online, by mail, by phone or by video (webcam), you will be found "in violation" of the charge by default and you may have to pay a higher fine.

What is a Hearing by Mail?

A Hearing by Mail allows you to fight the summons by sending a written defense to the OATH Hearings Division by regular mail. If you want to have a Hearing by Mail you must send your defense letter to OATH before the hearing date on the summons. You may include other documents to support your case.

Am I Allowed to Have a Hearing by Mail?

Not all summonses are eligible for a Hearing by Mail.

Enter the violation code on your summons below to learn if you are allowed to have a Hearing by Mail. Get help finding your OATH code.


All summonses that are issued for a violation of the NYC Health Code (for example, restaurant, rodent and pest control, day care, swimming pool, radiation and nuisance cases) are eligible for a Hearing by Mail even if the violation code you enter below is not found.

For all other summonses, if your violation code is not found below, you must appear in person.

How do I have a Hearing by Mail?

  • Write a defense. Explain in writing why the charges stated on the summons should be dismissed. You may include documents to support your case. For example:
    • If you are fighting the summons because you did not own the property on the date the summons was issued, you may want to submit a copy of the deed.
    • If the person named on the summons was deceased on the date the summons was issued, you may want to submit a copy of the death certificate.
    • If you are fighting the summons because you did not own the vehicle on the date the summons was issued, you may want to submit a copy of the sale records.
    Do not send original documents as they will not be returned to you.

  • List your summons number(s). Make sure to clearly list the summons number(s) on your defense letter.

  • State who you are. If you are not the person named on the summons as the respondent, clearly state:
    1. What your relationship is to the respondent (for example, are you the owner of the property/business, general/managing agent, attorney, registered representative, or a friend or relative?)
    2. What is the name of the person who asked you to submit the defense letter and what is that person's relationship to the respondent.

  • Sign and Notarize/Certify. The defense letter must be signed and either notarized or certified. If you do not want to have the defense letter notarized, OATH will accept your defense letter if it is signed and if it has been certified. To certify your defense letter simply include the following language at the end of your written and signed defense:
    I [print your name] _____________________________ CERTIFY UNDER PENALTY OF PERJURY THAT I AM AUTHORIZED TO COMPLETE AND SUBMIT THIS DEFENSE LETTER AND THAT TO THE BEST OF MY KNOWLEDGE, ALL INFORMATION I INCLUDED ON THIS DOCUMENT AND IN THE ATTACHMENTS, IF ANY, IS TRUE.
  • Send the defense letter to OATH. Send the signed defense letter before the hearing date to the following address:
    OATH Remote Hearings Unit
    66 John Street, 10th Floor
    New York, NY 10038

Can I write my defense letter in a language other than English?

If you feel more comfortable writing your defense in a language other than English, please do so. OATH will have your defense letter translated into English before it is given to the Hearing Officer assigned to your case. All translation services are provided by OATH free of charge.

If I have a Hearing by Mail, can I opt for Community Service if I am found to be "in violation"?

You will not have the option of community service. If you choose to have a Hearing by Mail and you are found to be "in violation" a monetary penalty will be imposed.

Not all summonses allow for the option of community service.