NEW YORK - The New York City Police Department has released new guidelines on how to handle some low-level crimes.
As of Monday, a number of offenses will be handled in city administrative court rather than as criminal cases.
Violations with less serious penalties now include urinating or drinking in public, spitting, littering, making excessive noise in a park or breaking park rules.
That's expected to reduce criminal summonses by about 100,000 a year.
Nearly all patrol officers have been trained on the policy, which has been in the works for more than a year.
You may still have to go to criminal court under some circumstances, however.
That includes a person getting three civil summonses for quality-of-life offenses, ignoring them, and then getting a fourth summons.
The new guidelines do not apply to those with open warrants, prior felony arrests, or who may be on parole or probation.