A lawyer can certainly appear on your behalf and save you the trip. A lawyer can review the summons and move to dismiss it if there are legal grounds to do so, otherwise s/he can move for an ACD, which is where the summons would be dismissed after six months if you don't get I to any legal trouble. Worst case scenario it's a violation that carries a fine and a $120 court surcharge. Contact me if you wish to discuss further.
My understanding, and I am a fellow cyclist besides being a lawyer, is that the court is really only to be paid the court fine.
It should not be difficult to resolve this matter without you being required to return to NYC.
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Every attorney has different price structures. You should consult with a number of people to determine who you feel comfortable with regarding prices and theories. It is possible that you could receive an ACD, which stands for adjournment in contemplation of dismissal. To receive that, in your absence, an attorney would have to prepare an affidavit to be executed by you prior to the court date. There is no guarantee as to results, but a dismissal is certainly a possibility. Good luck.
I have been a criminal defense attorney in New York for over 20 years. website: Brooklynlaw.net Phone #: 718-208-6094 email: email@example.com. This answer is only for informational purposes and is not meant as legal advice.