Turnstile Hopping & Fare Evasion Laws


While turnstile hopping and fare evasion is not considered a serious crime in New York, it is a prosecutable offense. This charge must be properly managed because it could negatively impact your life. Fare evasion has been the source of significant political turmoil over the years. There have been many attempts to decriminalize it in the past while some have requested that it be treated more seriously.

Although it seems harmless, fare evasion is not a victimless crime. Officials estimate that there will be 180 million occurrences of fare skipping in 2022. This will cost the Metro Transit Authority, the agency managing NYC subways, approximately $500 million. You can expect that the MTA will request that the city take greater action against offenders.

Fare Evasion in New York City

The state of New York has used a variety of tactics to address fare evasion. From attempting to ignore the issue to cracking down on it. In 2018, the Manhattan district attorney stated that his office would no longer be prosecuting most fare evasion cases. His desire was to decrease the number of arrests made for this crime. New Yorkers became concerned with this announcement. They feared that there would be an escalation in other crimes in the subway system.

By 2022, a study found a possible link between the increase in turnstile jumping and a rise in subway crime. This led the mayor of New York City, Eric Adams, to request that the DA office do more to prosecute fare evasion. Adams stated that allowing it to go unchecked would lead to “an environment where anything and everything goes.”

Penalties and Fines for Turnstile Jumping and Fare Evasion

Fare evasion is a Class A misdemeanor. It falls into a similar category as a parking ticket. This would mean that a first-time offender may receive a plea bargain. However, this offense could end up on your permanent record. Also, the arrest alone could prove to be more problematic for others.

For example, the Department of Education does not allow employees to have an open criminal record. The legal issues involved with fare evasion could take months to clear up. This would significantly impact an individual’s employment.

Another type of person that could be negatively affected by this charge are those from out of town. An officer could give them a desk appearance ticket with a date to appear when they are no longer in New York.

If a non-citizen is accused of jumping a turnstile, they could end up with immigration issues. Finally, if the accused individual has an arrest record, an open warrant, or does not have a valid ID, they could face serious repercussions.

Were You Caught Turnstile Hopping or Evading Fares?

The consequences of turnstile jumping may be considered minor to some. With the help of a qualified criminal defense attorney, these consequences could potentially be mitigated. There are many who will face more serious impacts with a fare evasion charge. It is essential that those individuals contact a criminal defense attorney for assistance.

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