If my girlfriend is being wrongly accused of attempting to avoid payment of a subway fare, what doesshe do?

UPDATED: Feb 9, 2011

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If my girlfriend is being wrongly accused of attempting to avoid payment of a subway fare, what doesshe do?

I live in NYand my girlfriend and I were recently served a summons for doubling up on my unlimited metrocard. Later, we spoke to the station agent who checked her card (we had tried it first) and confirmed that a fare had been paid from it. I got a printout of our metrocard activity, had a hearing, and the hearing officer’s decision upheld the fine of $100. Her metrocard has been used for 6 rides – not the 5 rides the MTA printout claims. Any subway booth agent will tell me that. The MTA will not. Will video evidence of booth agents telling me the card was used be good enough to appeal? Should we speak to a criminal law attorney? In Queens County, NY.

Asked on February 9, 2011 under Criminal Law, New York


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

This is a case where, even if it is unfair, your girlfriend should probably simply pay the fine. If there is already a decision against her, overturning it will not be easy, especially if the MTA is not forthcoming with evidence. If you need to get booth agents to testify, or subpoena records, or try to videotape (legally) someone and then introduce that evidence into court, your girlfriend will--as well as having to deal with the procedural issues of fighting this decision--your girlfriend will need an attorney. An attorney will cost far more than the $100 fine--she'd lose money by fighting. That's  not even mentioning any time she has to spend on fighting, which could be spent better on working, on studying (if in school), etc. And since no court outcome is ever certain, she could fight and still lose.

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