Good News Network – Over 640,000 people will no longer have to be afraid of being arrested for minor nonviolent crimes – such as walking a dog without a leash, open container drinking, littering, being in a park after hours, and spitting – that they committed decades ago. The warrants were usually issued when the offenders failed to pay their fines or show up in court. District attorneys from Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, and the Bronx argued that these warrants would often hurt New Yorkers who would forget about the offenses, only to have them come back up years later in negative ways.
Offenders might find themselves under arrest after reporting a crime, or after calling in a fender bender. Potential employers might also see the warrant during a background check. Additionally, legislators said that the arrest warrants wasted valuable police time.
“The people who have these warrants have not been in trouble with the law for a decade or more, and it is time that they are given the opportunity to live productive lives, free from summonses hanging over their heads,” Darcel Clark, the Bronx district attorney, said in a statement.
“Someone who owes a $25 fine should not be arrested and brought down to central booking and spend 20 or 24 hours in a cell next to a hardened criminal. That’s not fair, and that’s not justice,” said acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez, according to the Associated Press.