New York City police officers have recently been directed by city officials to lighten up on issuing criminal summonses for certain offenses. Now, petty offenses such as public urination and drinking may only result in a civil ticket.
Advocates believe that this move will make it so a person who is committing a nuisance will not result in the lifelong consequences associated with having a criminal record. Some offenses that were once misdemeanor crimes, such as public intoxication, open containers of alcohol, park violations, excessive noise, spitting, littering, and public urination, will now simply be considered a civil summons.
This change in protocol is intended to reduce the number of arrests in New York City and lower crime rates. It is important to know that there are some exceptions. For example, if you have been issued 3+ unanswered summonses throughout the last 8 years, you will not be issued another. Additionally, those who have two or more felony arrests in the previous two years, are on probation or on parole are not eligible for a civil summons and may be subject to another arrest.
What should I do if I’ve been issued a civil summons?
Now that there is a higher chance the NYPD will issue an offender a civil summons instead of arresting an offender for a misdemeanor, it is important that you know what to do. An officer will issue you a civil ticket and then, you must comply with the summons. You will be issued a hearing date that requires you to appear in civil court to determine your penalties.
If you have questions about these petty offenses, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney today for assistance.
If you are in need of experienced legal counsel in New York State, please contact Grunwald & Seman, P.C. and we would be happy to assist you.