Sunday, May 5, 2013

Tioga Lawyer: Ending Court Confusion: Owego Town Court vs. Owego Village Court

Many of the upstate New York cities have two courts. Usually one is called a town Court and the other is called a village Court. Are they really different in terms of legal authority? No. They are based upon the town's geography and history. Each Court has it's own jurisdiction (control and authority). If a crime (violation) occurs in one area it is a village matter, if in another it is a town matter.

In Ithaca, Cornell Campus, straddles both the town of Ithaca and the city of Ithaca geographically. It matters less whether you are arrested by the Cornell Police or the Ithaca City police, what does matter is the specific location you violated (or allegedly violated) New York state law.

Owego Town Court is in Apalachin, New York NOT Owego, New York

I have seen people google the city addresses and confuse their correspondence (responses) by mail and fax to the courts. I have also seen them drive hundreds of miles to the wrong Courthouse. They are easy to mix up. In a few of the places I go, like Candor, New York, they have both the town and village courts together. Both Judges sit next to one another, only feet apart, within the same courthouse.

Within the Town Courts we may also have more than one Judge. We may have a day court, and a night court. A day Judge and a night Judge. Some Courts, like Watkins Glen, used to have Court on Saturdays. Are you thoroughly confused? Which Judge is assigned your case may be a matter of timing or efficiency or luck.

Owego Town Hall, location of Owego Town Court, right off I-17/86

Owego "Village" Court is in downtown Owego, New York.

The key takeaway to all of this is:

1. When you begin your case, call the Court.
2. Find out the specific location of your matter (case).
3. Write down the Judge's name that is assigned to your case file.
4. Write down the specific address, fax, and/or email numbers.
5. Find out the name of the Court clerk for that Judge (there may be two clerks).
6. Keep copies of all records, letters, tickets, and final documents of any matter.

Mistakes can sometimes happen, and you don't want to have your driver's license suspended or revoked because of a mix up. Worse than all of that, if you drive on a suspended license, your next pull over will result in an arrest at roadside for AUO 3rd (aggravated unlicensed operation) of a motor vehicle.

Lawrence (Larry) Newman, D.C., Esq.

504 North Aurora Street
Ithaca, NY 14850