The New York City Fire Department (FDNY) is responsible for ensuring that landlords and business owners properly maintain their fire alarm systems and have fire prevention and escape plans in place in apartment buildings, offices, and retail and commercial spaces in New York City. It is also responsible for the manufacture, storage, handling, use and transportation of hazardous materials and combustible materials; and the conduct of various businesses and activities that pose fire hazards. Upon finding NYC Fire Code Violations, the inspector issues violation-orders, violations and vacate orders.
The violation-orders are warnings and don’t result in penalties but a follow-up inspection is scheduled. If the non-complying condition is not corrected before the next inspection, a Criminal Summons may be issued based NYC Fire Code. These cases can result in substantial fines or criminal convictions.
A corporation or LLC cannot be represented by a corporate officer but has to be represented by a lawyer. Often, to ensure that an actual person appears in court, the summons is issued in the name of a manager or superintendent. When we appear in Court on your behalf, the Court will amend the summons to make the landlord’s corporation or LLC the properly named defendant. A summons can require pre-trial hearings and written memorandums of law. However, frequently, even on the day of the hearing, the City will negotiate a plea if you can certify that the non-complying conditions have been corrected according to FDNY regulations. If you need time to prove compliance, you can request an adjournment of the trial. If you adjourn it for this reason and then don’t correct the condition, the City will generally demand a much higher fine. If you can show mitigation (extenuating circumstances as to why this violation existed or was not timely corrected), you can reduce the penalty. By merely making an appearance and providing some reasonable excuse or defense, you have a good likelihood of reducing the fine, especially if you provide proof indicating that you have corrected the violation. We also strive to help you get a reduction of the charge from a misdemeanor to a violation, a non-criminal disposition.
If you fight the violation or do not consent to a plea offer, you must go to trial. At trial, you should present dated pictures, work orders or other documentation disputing the alleged violation. This may include receipts, logs, reports, deeds, registrations, or other evidence. Also, you can present witnesses to testify at the hearing. In the event you don’t win at trial, we can handle requests for reconsideration and appeals.
The Wright Law Firm can vigorously represent your interests when faced with NYC Fire Code Violations before the Environmental Control Board or in the Criminal Courts.
Call 212 619-1500 for a consultation