Never mind drug-dealing and violence – it appears the NYPD is cracking down on people who remain in New York City’s parks after closing time, despite the fact that signs which indicate closing times are often small and go unseen. As a result, we have seen an increase in the number of law-abiding citizens (including professionals and students) summoned to court to answer criminal – yes, criminal – charges for remaining in parks after closing time (Central Park and Prospect Park both close at 1 a.m.). While the lights in Central Park, for example, may remain on after closing and no gates or fences close to alert park-goers they need to leave, one can see how easy it may be for an unsuspecting New Yorker or tourist to find him/herself relaxing in a park after closing time, only to be stopped by a police officer and charged under section 1-03 of the New York City Park Rules and Regulations.
In some cased the police will watch someone walk into the park after closing time without warning them, and then immediately stop them and issue a summons (again, no fences close – you’d think the police would warn you). If you are issued such a ticket, you are probably charged under Park Rules and Regulations § 1-03, which is a misdemeanor. Believe it or not, if you are convicted of being in a park after closing time you will be left with a permanent criminal record. The lesson here is to take the summons seriously; as is the case with any summons, failing to return on the summons date will result in a warrant being issued for your arrest. If you or anyone you know has been issued a summons or a desk appearance ticket for this, contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer at Galluzzo and Johnson LLP to represent you.
§1-03 General Provisions
- Hours of Operation
- Persons may enter and use the parks from 6:00 a.m. until 1:00 a.m. unless other open hours are posted at any park.
- Whenever a threat to public health or safety exists in any park resulting from any natural cause, explosion, accident or any other cause, or by riot or unlawful assembly or activity, the Commissioner may close the park or any part thereof to the public for such duration as he deems necessary to ensure the safety and well-being of the public.
- No person shall enter or remain in any park without the permission of the Commissioner when such park is closed to the public.
“Summonses for Entering or Remaining in “Closed” New York City Parks”