If you have an open warrant for a minor infraction in New York City, there is a good chance that it has been vacated by your borough’s district attorney, except if you’re in Staten Island. The DA’s have done away with nearly 700,000 open warrants for minor infractions.
According to DNA Info:
The Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens and Manhattan DAs said Wednesday they will vacate warrants for people who failed to pay a ticket for minor infractions that have been outstanding for 10 years or longer. Any underlying fines would also be dismissed, a spokesman for the Queens DA’s office said.
The measure would help clear out the backlog in courts, increase trust between law enforcement and residents and focus their offices on more serious crimes, the DAs said.
The open warrants will only be dismissed for those who have not been arrested since the original warrant was issued. The types of warrants being dismissed are for charges such as riding a bike on the sidewalk, drinking in public and disorderly conduct.
“The bulk of these summonses have been issued to mostly poor, Black and Latino individuals, many of whom may not even be aware that they have become open warrants that could trigger an arrest for minor infractions dating back many years,” said acting Brooklyn DA Eric Gonzalez in a statement. “Vacating these warrants enhances public safety and promotes fairness.”
However, Staten Island DA Michael McMahon is not on board, saying that the move “sends the wrong message.” He deems the measure as “unfair to folks who show up to court for their summonses. In a statement of his own, McMahon said, “While I have supported holding our Fresh Start events on Staten Island where individuals can take personal responsibility and request that their summons warrant be dismissed, I believe that issuing blanket amnesty for these offenses is unfair to those citizens who responsibly appear in court and sends the wrong message about the importance of respecting our community and our laws.”
According to officials, about 240,000 warrants will be dismissed in Manhattan, 166,000 in the Bronx, 143,000 in Brooklyn and 100,000 in Queens. Next month, they will be vacated in court proceedings.