How to Reduce or Eliminate Penalties

by Robert Fried on March 15, 2018 , Comments Off on How to Reduce or Eliminate Penalties

Of course, it’s best to avoid penalties completely. Sometimes, though, you can be caught off-guard and find yourself liable for a hefty penalty for a violation that completely slipped your mind.

Once that’s happened, here are your options:

1. Curing Violations

The best way to avoid paying a penalty is by fixing a DOB-ECB violation.  If this is offered as an option to you, you’ll find a cure date listed on your violation – you must fix the problematic area before this date. All Class 3 violations and some Class 2 violations have this option; Class 1 violations do not.

You’ll find your violation’s designated class on your penalty sheet.

Any violation marked as “Aggravated II” is not eligible for cures.

You won’t have to rush to fix your violation – the cure date is usually 40 days from the date the violation was issued. Be aware, though, that you’ll need to submit a Certificate of Correction (AEU-2 form) to let the DOB know that you are curing the violation. This means you are admitting to being guilty of the violation. Consequently, any future violations for the same issue may make you liable for additional penalties and may not be eligible for a cure date. The good news is that if you successfully fix this violation on time, you won’t have to pay a penny in fines and you won’t have to show up for your scheduled hearing.

2. Stipulations

Some violations are eligible for Stipulations. You’ll find this determination marked on your penalty sheet.

If you choose to enter into a Stipulation, you’ll only be liable for half of the imposed penalty amount. To do so, you’ll need to admit to the violation and to file a Certificate of Correction with the Department within 75 days of the pre-hearing or hearing Stipulation date. If you fail to do so, you will be held accountable for the full penalty amount.

Criteria for Stipulations are similar to that of cure dates – no Stipulations are offered for Aggravated II penalties.

3. Mitigations

If the fined party can prove the violation was corrected prior to the hearing date, they may be eligible for a mitigated penalty. As with cure dates and Stipulations, you can determine whether your violation is eligible for mitigation by simply checking your penalty sheet. Also, any violations classified as Aggravate II, are not eligible for mitigations.

What are Aggravated Penalties?

Now that you know what course of action you can take when issued a violation, let’s explore the subject of aggravated penalties. In short, this refers to a repeat offense. There are two categories of aggravated penalties.

Aggravated I Penalties are imposed when it has been proven that the same condition or charge under the NYC Construction Codes, or the previous charge under the laws in effect before July 1, 2008, was issued in a prior enforcement action against the same owner or responsible party during the last three years. In other words, the same person is being charged with a similar infraction within three years.

Aggravated II Penalties are imposed in any of the following situations::

1. The violation of law is accompanied by or results in an accident, or poses a significant risk of either occurrence.
2. The violation is accompanied by or results in a fatality or serious injury, or poses a significant risk of either occurrence.
3. The violation condition affects a large number of people.
4. The respondent or defendant withholds requested information necessary to determine the condition of a building or site.
5. The respondent has a history of non-compliance with DOB rules at one or more locations.

As mentioned above, Aggravated II penalties are not eligible for cure dates, Stipulations or mitigations and demand a hearing attendance. Both classes of aggravated penalties incur steep fines.

This all sounds a bit confusing to you or just too much to handle? As always, Jaffa can help you with any of these processes and reduce or eliminate any penalty you may have incurred.

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