As NY1 reports, a number of offenses will now (as of yesterday) be handled in city administrative court rather than as criminal cases. The NYPD will issue civil summonses for quality-of-life offenses. The new summons policy mandates that offenders then appear at the city Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings — OATH!
Violations with less serious penalties now include urinating or drinking in public, spitting, littering, making excessive noise in a park or breaking park rules.
You may still have to go to criminal court under some circumstances.
That includes a person getting three civil summonses for quality-of-life offenses, ignoring them, and then getting a fourth summons.
The new guidelines do not apply to those with open warrants, prior felony arrests, or who may be on parole or probation.
The Daily News reports that about 96 percent of patrol officers have been trained on the new guidelines.
NYPD officials estimate that this will reduce the number of criminal summonses issued a year by about 100,000. The idea is that the initiative will enable the NYPD to devote its resources to investigating serious crimes, while further reducing the backlog of cases in Criminal Court, among other reasons.