New York has progressed so far in recent years that getting busted for minor offenses like drinking on the street, smoking weed in front of a cop or taking a nice long post-bar piss in an alleyway fall in the category of “not that bad” punishments (well, if you’re white, at least). At the same time, other things you can still get ticketed for like riding your bike on the sidewalk or letting your dog go off-leash are still as annoying as ever. All of these can compound into a headache of warrants, unpaid fines and general NYPD harassment that could stay on your record for years or eventually get you arrested. These are also the kinds of cases weighing down the overburdened court system and delaying the actually important crimes that need to be handled.
Luckily, there is a way to get your low-level offenses taken care of without too much hassle. This weekend, the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office is bringing its Begin Again program to Bed-Stuy to give Brooklynites and everyone in the city a chance to deal with summonses for low-level offenses quickly and get a clean record without having to navigate the city’s entire complex legal system. (more…)