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Sunday, July 03, 2011

Catch Me While I'm Sleeping

Many of you know that on my list of least favorite things, cops and paying for things are near the top of the list. Unfortunately, I was in the city recently and had a terrible moment where both of these things came together.... Yes, I got a ticket! BOO!!

Here's the story.

I was dancing in the city with some of my BFFs, Delisa and Josh. We were having fun, looking like these people, just less blurry.

We left around 2:30 and took the subway back to Brooklyn. When we were one stop away from Jay Street, I decided to take a nap, so I leaned by head against the metal bars at the end of the seat (I know, not the ideal pillow), scrunched up into a little ball, and fell asleep.

Well, my nap was interrupted at the next stop when I heard a banging near my head. I open my eyes to see a cop banging her stick against the metal bars and she's like, "Step off the subway." So I followed her (and the three male cops accompanying her...) off the subway and she asked me for my license. I gave it to her and she ran it and said, "If you have any warrants out, we'll have to take you in." And I was like,

Alright, so at this point I was sure that the cops were just trying to find a drunk person so they could give them a ticket for public intoxication. Since I'm a teetotaller, I figured I'd be fine; they would see it was six months and I was still sober and let me go. However, after the approx. 4 hours it took to run my license, the female cop handed my license to one of the male cops who started writing me a ticket!

When I got the ticket, I read it and saw that the official reason for the ticket was "obstruction of seating." In the note section, the cop wrote, "Observed resp lying down across bench aboard a s/b F train occupying more than one seat."

LYING ACROSS?! No. I was not like this guy:

Or even this woman:

Y'all know how I can squeeze myself into a little ball. Was I taking up more than one seat? Probably. Two at the most. But it was 3am and no one needed the seat!! Plus, while there are signs saying you can't smoke, listen to music, litter, eat, block the conductor's station, or walk between cars while the train is moving, there are no signs about taking up more than one seat!

So I just was like

and got back on the subway and we went home.

Now I'm wondering whether I should try to fight the ticket. What do y'all think? Has this ridiculous ticket ever been fought successfully?! Should I just pay the ridiculously costly ticket ($50)?!


Jere Keys said...


Milo said...

There's me planning to second to the New York office and I hear stories like that. Genuinely shocking.

Have those bloody idiots got nothing better to do than write tickets to innocent, law-abiding members of the public?

I moan about my own city but there's not a cat's chance in hell that would happen to you in London.

Justin said...

I'd be inclined to fight it. I don't know how New York State operates. In Massachusetts most of these things are usually handled by magistrates, not judges, and if you show up and are very polite and respectful, you can often get away with it being dismissed.

There may be a fee to appeal, however. If the fee is high enough (e.g., $25) then it's not worth it.

Even if you have to see a judge, not a magistrate, it may boil down to how much the cop can be bothered to show up. They can't always be bothered.

If the cop shows up, it's your word against his. That's a guarantee that you will lose. The judicial system pretty much always gives the police the benefit of the doubt that they're telling the truth. If the cop doesn't show up, you stand a good chance of having the ticket dismissed.

Ray Avito said...

WHAT?!?! I've only been on LA trains and I've seen much worse, so I can only imagine that "transgression" couldn't have even counted as a blip on NY trains. I could be stereotyping NY.*giggles*

Garret of Jim and Garret said...

See this is how it all starts. First it's a little ticket for sleeping on a train and then a year later it's theft or something. Thug!

"Ignorance of the law is no excuse".

Pay it and be done with it.

Chris D. said...

How unfortunate! I suspect this rule is mainly aimed at cracking down on homeless people who may like to sleep on trains.

If your beard were untrimmed and you were wearing serious hipster garb, the police may have mistaken you for a homeless person.

If you can contest the charges without it ultimately costing more than the fine, it may be worth a shot. However, if you have to take off from work, and pay to travel back into NYC, it may just not be worth the trouble to contest it.

I was also unaware of the rule you allegedly violated. Certainly, I would like to think it is the sort of thing where one could receive a warning before being busted.

Best wishes for a swift return to good standing in the eyes of the law.

Michelle M. said...

So unfair! What a stupid ticket. But I'd probably pay it, just so I wouldn't have to deal with it anymore. Sorry your night ended that way.

john said...

LAME! My response depends on how much your time is worth to you. If you don't mind spending time to fight the ticket, then fight it. Personally, I'd do what Michelle suggested.