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Frequently Asked Questions

About the Hearing:

What should I do if my car was towed because of a parking violation?
What does Krimstock mean?
What happens at a Krimstock hearing?
Where is a Krimstock Hearing held?
What if I don't speak English?
What is a Vehicle Seizure form and why is it important?
How do I request a hearing?
What happens if I miss the hearing?
When does the Judge decide if I get my car back?
Is the hearing judgment final?
What if I am incarcerated or unable to attend the hearing?
What happens in a settlement?
What is a forfeiture proceeding?
What if there is a pending criminal hearing at the same time?

About Your Case:

Can I have a lawyer at the hearing?
The police sent me a request for certain documents.  What do I do now?
How can I get information from the police?
Will the police officer who arrested me be present during the hearing?
What evidence should I prepare?
What is a District Attorney's release?
What if I was arrested for a DWI?
What if I own the car, but was not driving it when the police took it?



About the Hearing:

What should I do if my car was towed because of a parking violation?
This website is not about cars towed because of a parking violation. This website is for car owners and drivers whose cars have been taken by the police during an arrest. For cars towed due to a parking violation, call 311 or visit NYC's website for Parking & Vehicles: Towed Vehicles.

What does Krimstock mean?
"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.

What happens at a Krimstock hearing?
Similar to a short trial, you and the police department will present your cases in front of an OATH judge.  Please see The Hearing Itself for an explanation of what will take place during the hearing.

Where is a Krimstock Hearing held?
Hearings are held at the Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings (OATH). OATH is a New York City tribunal, located at 100 Church Street, 12th Floor, New York, NY 10007. It is separate from the state court system. For directions to OATH please click here.

What if I don't speak English?
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.

What is a Vehicle Seizure form and why is it important?
When the police take a car, they must give both driver and owner (if different people) a Vehicle Seizure Form. You must fill out the form and send it to the police in order to request a hearing.  Please see The Police Must Give you Notice for more information.

How do I request a hearing?
To ask for a hearing, follow the instructions on your Vehicle Seizure Form. Please see Request a Hearing for more information.

What happens if I miss the hearing?
If you do not go to the hearing, you may not be able to get your car back unless you win the civil forfeiture proceeding in state court. You should immediately call OATH if you have a good reason for missing the hearing and wish to reschedule. The number is 1-844-628-4692. Please see Rescheduling a Hearing to learn more.

When does the Judge decide if I get my car back?
The judge who conducts the Krimstock hearing will make a decision in writing within three business days after the Krimstock hearing has ended. Please see The Judge's Decision to learn more.

Is the hearing judgment final?
If you lose the Krimstock hearing, you may appeal the judge's decision by filing papers in the New York Supreme Court for a 'Limited Review' (Article 78 proceeding). This case will be a review of the record made in the Krimstock case and is NOT a new hearing.  It allows a State Court judge to look over the record of your hearing to make sure that it was decided correctly by the OATH judge. The City of New York may still sue for the car in a forfeiture proceeding, even if you win a Krimstock hearing to get your car back temporarily.

What if I am incarcerated or unable to attend the hearing?
You should immediately call OATH if you have a good reason for missing the hearing and wish to reschedule. The number is 1-844-628-4692. Please see Rescheduling a Hearing to learn more.

What happens in a settlement?
When you arrive for your hearing, you will first have an informal settlement conference before a conference judge who will not be the trial judge. At the settlement conference you may make an agreement with the Police under the Judge's supervision to get your car back. Please see The Settlement Conference to learn about the settlement process.

What is a forfeiture proceeding?
Even if you win a Krimstock hearing, the police department may still decide to bring a "forfeiture proceeding" in state court. This is because the Krimstock hearing, also called a "car retention hearing" is only about whether the police can "retain" or hold the car while they decide whether to bring a forfeiture proceeding. If the police win a forfeiture proceeding in state court, you will lose ownership of the car permanently. Please see Separate Forfeiture Proceedings are Possible to learn more.

What if there is a pending criminal hearing at the same time?
Krimstock hearings are not part of the forfeiture case and are also not part of any criminal case. However, what you say at a formal Krimstock hearing could be used against you later in your criminal case. You should consult your criminal defense attorney before testifying at a Krimstock hearing. Please see The Hearing Itself to learn more. 

About Your Case:

Can I have a lawyer at the hearing?
You may bring an attorney to a Krimstock hearing, and you may work with an attorney to prepare for your hearing. You may contact OATH to get information about finding an attorney who may represent you free of charge. OATH can be contacted by at (212) 442-4900. Please see You May Bring an Attorney for more information.

The police sent me a request for certain documents.  What do I do now?
You can mail the police copies of the papers, but if you are concerned about whether you should send certain information, consult an attorney or contact OATH at 1-844-628-4692. Please see Document Requests for more information.

How can I get information from the police?
If you think the police have papers that would be helpful to you, you can ask OATH to order the police to give you copies of those papers. Call OATH at 1-844-628-4692. Please see Document Requests for more information.

Will the police officer who arrested me be present during the hearing?
The arresting officer will not be at the hearing, and the OATH judge is authorized to allow the written reports from the officer to be considered as evidence. Please see The Police Officer Will Not be Present for more information.

What evidence should I prepare?
Your evidence will build primarily upon your own explanation of events; this explanation is called your testimony. You should bring your driver's license, the car's title proving who owns the car, the car's registration with the owner's name on it, and any papers relating to the criminal case that you believe will be helpful to you. Evidence can be what people say, and it can be what is written on papers. It can also be pictures or charts. Anyone you bring with you to the formal hearing can testify. You can ask that person questions. NOTE: The police and the OATH judge may also ask that person questions. Please see Evidence You Should Gather and Present for a list and explanations of evidence you may bring.

What is a District Attorney's release?
The District Attorney's Release is a paper from the District Attorney assigned to the criminal case. It says that the District Attorney will not use the car for evidence in the criminal case. Please see The Police Officer Will Not be Present for more information.

What if I was arrested for a DWI?
If the car was taken in connection with a Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) charge, the police may allow you to get your car back, in some situations. You may be able to get your car back if all of the following are true: (1) you have not been arrested before (particularly not for a DWI charge), (2) you did not have an extraordinarily high blood alcohol level, and (3) there are no aggravating factors. Aggravating factors include things such as injuries to people or property. Please see If You were Arrested for DWI for more information.

What if I own the car, but was not driving it when the police took it?
You may be an Innocent Owner. An Innocent Owner is someone who owns the car that was seized, but who was either not in the car when the police took it or was not involved in the criminal activity and did not know that the criminal activity was going to occur. The owner should attend the Krimstock hearing in person, rather than sending someone else. Please see If You are an Innocent (Uninvolved) Owner for more information.