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Criminal Summons for Consumption of Alcohol in Public

Alcohol Consumption in NYC Parks: Rules and Consequences

Around this time of year, our office gets calls from individuals who decided to imbibe in an alcoholic beverage in Central Park, Prospect Park, or any other number of city parks. This is the most common criminal summons issued by the NYPD. Generally, it is charged in one of two ways.

NYC Park Rules & Regulations

§1-05 Regulated Uses

Alcoholic Beverages

Except where specifically permitted by the Commissioner, no person shall consume any alcoholic beverage in any park, playground, beach, swimming pool, or other park property or facility, nor shall any person possess any alcoholic beverage with intent to consume or facilitate consumption by others of same in any park, playground, beach, swimming pool, or other park property or facility.

It shall be a violation of these rules for any person to appear in any park under the influence of alcohol to the degree that he may endanger himself or herself, other persons or property, or unreasonably annoy persons in his or her vicinity.

Administrative Code 10-125

a. Definitions. Whenever used in this section, the following terms are defined as follows:

  1. Alcoholic beverage. Any liquid intended for human consumption containing more than one-half of one percent (.005) of alcohol by volume.
  2. Public place. A place to which the public or a substantial group of persons has access including, but not limited to, any highway, street, road, sidewalk, parking area, shopping area, place of amusement, playground, park or beach located within the city except that the definition of a public place shall not include those premises duly licensed for the sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages on the premises or within their own private property. Such public place shall also include the interior of any stationary motor vehicle which is on any highway, street, road, parking area, shopping area, playground, park or beach located within the city.

b. No person shall drink or consume an alcoholic beverage, or possess, with intent to drink or consume, an open container containing an alcoholic beverage in any public place except at a block party, feast or similar function for which a permit has been obtained.

c. Possession of an open container containing an alcoholic beverage by any person shall create a rebuttable presumption that such person did intend to consume the contents thereof in violation of this section.

d. Nothing in this section shall be deemed to prohibit the consumption of an alcoholic beverage in any duly licensed establishment whose certificate of occupancy extends upon a street.

e. Any person who shall be found to have violated any of the provisions of this section shall be punished by a fine of not more than twenty-five dollars ($25) or imprisonment of up to five (5) days, or both, or pursuant to the provisions of the family court act of the state of New York where applicable.

The NYPD will also assist with the criminal summons Instructions for Pleading Guilty to Summons By Mail. This form is issued to individuals when there is no arrest and they are charged with a violation of Administrative Code Section 10-125(b). The instructions tell you that to plead not guilty in person, you must appear in court at the time and place designated on the criminal summons. In order to plead guilty, you can mail in the plea form, fully completed and signed, the criminal summons you initially received, and a check or money order for $25.00 made payable to NYC Criminal Court with the Criminal Summons number written on the payment.

All of the above items must be mailed within 10 days of receiving the summons to:

NYC Criminal Court
P.O Box 555
New York, NY 100013-0555

What are the consequences of Pleading Guilty By Mail?

  • You waive arraignment in open court and the right to receive the accusatory instrument and the right to the aid defense counsel.
  • Pleading guilty to the criminal summons is the same as being found guilty after trial.
  • Understanding that by pleading guilty, you can receive a fine of up to $25.00 or up to five days in jail or both.
  • Agreeing that the sentence imposed will be the fine of $25.00.
  • Agreeing that the Court may refuse to accept the guilty plea because of an individual’s criminal record or other facts or circumstances. If this is the case, payment will be refunded and the individual will be notified to appear before the court at a designated time and place
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