NEW YORK (FOX5NY) - Could jumping a turnstile get you deported? According to the Manhattan District Attorney, it could put you at risk and he says that's one reason he's going to stop prosecuting fare-beaters.
In 2016, police attested nearly 10,000 people in Manhattan for jumping the turnstile or failing to pay their subway fare, officially called theft of service. In fact, it was the most common charge in Manhattan Criminal Court.
But beginning in September, Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance Jr.'s office will no longer prosecute those who evade their fares unless the individual "poses a demonstrated threat to public safety."
"The criminal prosecution of these low-level, non-violent offenses should not be a part of a reformed 21st-Century justice system," Vance said in a statement. "Absent a demonstrated public safety risk, criminally prosecuting New Yorkers accused of these offenses does not make us safer."
The DA claims that the enforcement "proportionately impacted people of color, bogged down our courts, and even put immigrants at risk of deportation."
Turnstile jumpers in Manhattan will either be issued a summons in lieu of arrest or will be offered pre-arraignment diversion in an attempt to keep them out of court.
The decision not to prosecute fair evaders is part of a bigger plan by the Manhattan DA reduce the criminal prosecution of low-level non-violent misdemeanors and reduce both criminal court caseloads and the jail population at Rikers Island.