What is a Pink Summons?

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  • Written By: Michelle Baugh
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 06 February 2020
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A pink summons is a ticket issued in the five boroughs of New York City requiring the offender to appear in a court of law to answer for a criminal violation. The ticket, which is formally known as a New York City summons, gets its nickname from its pink color. Although a pink summons appears to be very similar to most traffic tickets issued elsewhere in the country, it actually carries far more weight and comes with serious consequences if ignored.

The top section of a pink summons contains basic personal information, such as the offender's first and last name, current address and date of birth. If a driver's license is available, this information is also noted in the top section. If the pink summons is issued for a motor vehicle incident, the officer will also indicate whether the offender is the owner of the vehicle.

The middle section of a pink summons will indicate the charge against the offender. In addition to listing the specific statute being violated, the officer will also write a brief description of the complaint. The time, date and location of the violation will also be noted in this section.


Immediately below the description of the offense will be the time, date and location of the court appearance. It will list the exact street address of the courthouse, and it will also indicate the specific courtroom where the offender will be expected to appear. In most pink summons cases, the courtroom handling the complaint will be Part AR2 in the county where the offense was committed.

Upon issuing the summons, the officer will sign and print his name and indicate his squad number. The offender is also asked to sign the pink summons to confirm receipt and acknowledgment of the impending court hearing. Signing the summons is not considered an acknowledgment of guilt.

Ignoring a pink summons can carry stiff penalties. If the offender fails to show up for the court appointment, an arrest warrant will be issued. This means that should an offender be stopped for any other violation in the United States, an arrest will be made and jail time and fines assigned. Residing outside of New York City is not considered a sufficient enough reason for avoiding a summons. Every summons contains a toll-free number on the back that offenders may call if there is a problem with the scheduled court date.


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Discuss this Article

Post 5

@strawCake - Any kind of court summons is a serious thing. I just had a friend who got picked for jury duty. On the first day, they took attendance, made a list of who wasn't there, and sent the police around to go and get them.

Judges are not in the habit of being ignored.

Post 4

I read an article in a magazine about pink summons in NYC. The article told about how many businesses and corporations get involved with pink summonses because they have so many commercial vehicles and drivers. There are many parking, loading, fire code and other violations that come with a very hefty fine.

Instead of the individual driver being named on the pink summons, the corporation becomes the responsible party and must go to court. But all corporation need to be represented by a lawyer in the case. I don't know if the driver just gets a reprimand or what.

Post 3

Wow! I wonder why bad news comes on pink paper. Besides a New York City pink summons, there are those pink slips for lay-offs.

Seriously, this system of distributing information regarding offenses seems to be a very efficient way of handling all the broken laws that happen in a city with so many people.

The directions are very clear as to what an offender must do. And if the summons is ignored, the offender may be arrested.

Instead of just skipping the court date if they can't make it, there is a number to call to discuss the problem.

This is a good example of - "no excuses, you must comply." I think more jurisdictions should adopt this procedure.

Post 2

@strawCake - I feel bad for your friend! But I guess it pays to be on time for most things, especially court.

I think it's important to note that signing the summons isn't an admission of guilt. I can imagine some people probably try to avoid signing it because they think differently. It would probably be a good idea for police officers to explain what signing the pink summons actually means!

Post 1

Pink summons actually sounds fairly pleasant! It's kind of funny that a pink summons form isn't fun at all.

I just wanted to reiterate what the article said about not ignoring a court summons. They will issue a bench warrant for your arrest. In fact, I had a friend that received one of these and showed up late for court. He got arrested for being in contempt!

So although the summons is pink, it's still serious!

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