Watch a video of an OATH judge explaining this website.
This website is for car owners and drivers whose car has been taken by the police during an arrest. This taking is called a "seizure."
This is not about cars towed because of a parking violation. For that problem, call 311 or visit NYC's website for Parking & Vehicles: Towed Vehicles.
Under the law, if a car was used in connection with a crime, the police department may "seize" it and then seek title to it in a New York court in what is called a forfeiture proceeding. Owners and drivers have the right to a prompt hearing to challenge the police department's hold on the car, while waiting for the forfeiture proceeding to take place. You do not have to wait until the forfeiture proceeding starts to try to get your car back temporarily.
The prompt hearing is called a Krimstock hearing and this website explains how it works. "Krimstock" is the last name of one of the car owners in a class action lawsuit brought by The Legal Aid Society for the purpose of challenging the practice of taking a car and not providing a prompt hearing to test whether it should be given back. A high level court ruled that the City must provide an administrative hearing soon after seizing the car. For more details, see the Krimstock Order (2007).
Hearings are held at the Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings (OATH). OATH is a New York City tribunal, located at 40 Rector Street, NYC. It is separate from the state court system. For directions to OATH please click here.
OATH is committed to the fair and respectful treatment of all parties that come before it. OATH is also committed to fair access to the hearing process for those who do not have an attorney to represent them.
You are entitled to have an attorney represent you and if you cannot afford an attorney, you may contact OATH at 212-442-4900 for information about finding an attorney who may represent you free of charge. (See the You May Bring an Attorney section of this website.)
If you do not speak English, OATH will provide a translator for you on the phone during your pre-hearing conference and also at the hearing.
Remember, if you have a criminal case still open when you ask for the hearing to get your car back, what you say at a Krimstock hearing can be used against you in your criminal trial. So consult a lawyer if that is your situation.