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Public Drinking Has Been Decriminalised In NYC

Public Drinking Has Been Decriminalised In NYC

In a move that’s starkly contrasts the state of affairs in Sydney, New York City officials have decriminalised public drinking in Manhattan.

If you weren’t already aware, it’s a crime to drink open canisters of alcohol in public in most cities, NYC included. But an announcement on Tuesday said the New York Police Department will no longer be arresting or charging the majority of people who commit low level offences like public drinking. So, while it doesn’t exactly make public drinking legal, it does mean the rules around enjoying a beer in Central Park will be way more lax.

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Coming into effect next week, the law also covers a broader spectrum of low-level nonviolent offences as well. According to the NY Times, Police officers in NYC can no longer arrest someone who commits a minor offence like riding in between subway cars, urinating in public or taking up two seats on the subway. (Um, but what about all those manspreaders?)

The law effectively gives police officers the discretion to issue criminal summonses, instead of arresting people whose behaviour isn’t posing a threat to public safety. These summonses are quicker to work through as they are directly adjudicated by judges who ask the recipient questions about the alleged offence, then decide whether to dismiss it or impose a penalty. Compared to filling out paperwork, building a case and showing up for court appearances, it’s a whole lot swifter not only for police, but also for the judicial system.

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This news comes at a pretty rough time for us Aussies, who with the latest news of lockout laws being introduced in Brisbane, has effectively shut down the late night economy of two of our major capital cities. Time to move to NYC, we reckon.

Check out Qantas flights to NYC here.

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