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Manhattan DA Offers New Yorkers Chance To Clear Old Warrants

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- The Manhattan District Attorney Office's is offering New Yorkers a chance at a clean slate.

Officials are setting up a mobile courtroom on the Lower East Side this weekend, hoping to get people with minor offenses hanging over their heads to come out of the shadows and resolve their outstanding summons warrants.

The last event in Harlem attracted 700 people, District Attorney Cyrus Vance said.

"At 9 o'clock in the morning the line was going all the way around the block," Vance said.

More than 400 of those cases ended up getting dismissed. They were old summonses for non-violent offenses like drinking alcohol in public or riding between subway cars.

Vance said this is not an amnesty program.

"They really wouldn't receive a different result were they to be in court today," Vance said, explaining that the program will prevent summonses from turning into arrests for not having dealt with them.

"This program allows individuals who for whatever reason did not appear in court to have their summons warrant resolved on the spot," Judge Tamiko Amaker said.

The violations can date back up to 20 years.

The Legal Aide Society will offer its services at the event Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Grand Street Settlement on the Lower East Side.

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