NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Hundreds of New Yorkers filed into a mobile courtroom on the Lower East Side on Saturday to get warrants cleared for low-level offenses like public urination and marijuana possession during the city’s ‘Clean Slate’ event.
The Legal Aide Society offered its services at the event Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Grand Street Settlement.
“In the overwhelming number of cases, the judge will adjourn their case for six months,” Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance said. “And if they stay out of trouble for six months, the case will be dismissed.”
Some exceptions to the rule include transit crimes — like hopping transit turnstiles, WCBS 880’s Stephanie Colombini reported.
Ryan Simpson, of the Bronx, told Colombini he spent two and a half years thinking he had a warrant for drinking in public — until a judge told him Saturday that his case was never filed.
“Honestly, when you think you have a warrant, you walk differently, you go different places because I’m not trying to get stopped,” Simpson said.
Clearing low-level offenses also frees the system up so they can focus on more serious crimes, 1010 WINS’ Roger Stern reported.
“The goal is here to make sure that people feel more integrated in society as opposed to alienated,” Vance said.
Violations eligible for clearance can date back up to 20 years.