Under the proposals, the maximum jail time for public urination, littering and spitting would drop from 10 days to just one.
Saturday, April 30, 2016
The tortured logic of the NYC Council is sure to make the City smell wonderful this summer. Are they saying blacks and hispanics commit these crimes more often then others?
The City Council wants to slash maximum sentences for littering, drinking and peeing in public as part of a plan to go easy on quality-of-life violations — while trying to keep offenders out of criminal court altogether, The Post has learned.
A series of bills quietly finalized earlier this week calls for several city code violations to be prosecuted primarily as civil offenses, punishable by no more than monetary fines.
“We’re creating a hybrid where the default will be a civil penalty,” said Councilman Rory Lancman (D-Queens), who chairs the Courts and Legal Services Committee.
“We want to give the police the authority to check someone’s ID . . . and they can only do that if they’re enforcing a criminal provision,” he added.
The council is currently in negotiations with the NYPD to set parameters for determining whether violators wind up in criminal court or before the city’s Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings, Lancman said.
The legislation is part of Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito’s controversial plan to decriminalize minor offenses to help reduce arrests of black and Hispanic New Yorkers.
“Criminal enforcement of these offenses should be used only in limited circumstances and . . . in the absence of such circumstances, civil enforcement should be utilized,” according to one of the bills.
Under the proposals, the maximum jail time for public urination, littering and spitting would drop from 10 days to just one. Public drinking would also carry a maximum one-day sentence, down from five.
Some fines would increase dramatically, however, with a third civil offense for urination, littering and spitting costing up to $450, versus $250 now.
But violating most park rules would carry only a $200 criminal fine and one day in jail, or a $300 civil penalty — compared to the current maximum of $1,000 and 90 days.
The legislation also includes a provision that would let violators work off civil fines through community service.
The NYPD, in a statement, said it was open to “considering conditions under which certain low-level offenses may be subject to the option of having a civil summons.”