According to court records, there are approximately 1.2 million open warrants across the city – most of them issued over a year ago and some older than a decade – which were ordered after recipients fail to answer their summonses.
These offenses may include trespassing, spitting, loitering, disorderly conduct, walking an unleashed dog, drinking alcohol in public, drinking alcohol underage, riding a bicycle on the sidewalk, making unreasonable noise, etc.
If left unresolved, these minor offenses can impede a person’s ability to get a job, apply for citizenship or obtain public housing. Additionally, with an open summons, any future contact with law-enforcement, even for a minor violation, will result in handcuffs, a trip to the precinct and possibly a night in jail.
Sponsored by the office of Kings County District Attorney Ken Thompson, Begin Again is a program created to address this problem. Participating individuals will be represented by attorneys from the Legal Aid Society, and judges and court clerks will be on hand to vacate warrants that have resulted from summonses for minor offenses. Participants will be taking an affirmative step by clearing up their warrants in a non-traditional, non-confrontational manner within a safe environment so they can move on with their lives.
Of the 2,396 Begin Again participants who attended events in 2015, no one was arrested and all received consultation with attorneys on how to resolve their warrants and on any other legal issues they had.
Building on the success of 2015, the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office is bringing Begin Again to Bushwick to give Brooklyn residents an opportunity to deal with summonses for low-level offenses quickly and easily right in their community.
What: Begin Again
When: Saturday, June 11, 2016, 9 am – 3 pm
Where: St. Thomas Episcopal Church, 1405 Bushwick Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11207