Have you heard? The Manhattan District Attorney says you will no longer go to jail for publicly drinking and peeing in his borough. You may want to hold it in for just a minute before you start celebrating.

DA Cyrus Vance announced in a press release yesterday that cops in Manhattan will no longer make arrests for low-level infractions including public drinking and urination, and that his office will no longer prosecute anyone who is arrested for those offenses. The release was billed as a joint effort between Vance, Mayor Bill de Blasio, and NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton, and each of the latter men gave prepared statements. As the Observer notes, no press conference was given, and none of the men have spoken publicly about the initiative besides in the press release.

The borough-specific nature of the change is unusual, and the timing is conspicuous. The mayor, commissioner, and City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito all support legislation that would accomplish many of the same changes city-wide, which was announced in January. But it’s not the first time this sort of thing has happened: Brooklyn DA Ken Thompson vowed to stop prosecuting small pot arrests back in 2014.

Ultimately, Vance’s changes are good—it’s completely silly to give someone a criminal record for taking up too many subway seats, another one of the infractions that will be downgraded, for instance. Anything that keeps ordinary, non-dangerous people out of jail is good.

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But it’s not quite time to start pissing your heart out. For one thing, you’ll still get a court summons for it if a cop catches you. Also, if you have an open warrant, you’ll be taken to court immediately to deal with your open warrant under the new rules. Finally, if an officer decides that you pose a risk to public safety while committing a low-level infraction like wizzing, he can still arrest you. The DA may throw out the charges, but the arrest could still happen. Really, can’t you just wait until you get home? Your neighbors will thank you.


Image via kschlot1/Flickr. Contact the author at andy@gawker.com.