DO: Know the law.
Exploring sometimes entails going places you’re not suppose to go. Trespassing is a crime in the city and state of New York (as well as every other state). Here in NY though it is only a ‘violation’. Maximum jail time is 15 days under such a law – and there are no known cases of anyone just exploring around town having actually been sentence to time in jail for only trespassing. In general, if you are caught where you ought not be, you are given a ‘desk appearance ticket’ – requiring you to go to court (usually a month or three after the date of the ticket). Occasionally this ticket is dismissed before you even show up in court due to errors on the ticket (such as the officer writing down a date of offense that was before you were even born – I’m not kidding). More likely though you’ll show up at court and either be told by some clerk that it’s been dismissed or have to wait around for the judge who’ll either ‘sentence’ you to ‘ACD’ – 6 months of probation (the charge is completely dropped so long as you don’t do something stupid in the next 6 months) or a small fine, perhaps $50 to $100 bucks.
All bets are off though if you are caught by cops who need to make their quota. In NYC this isn’t that uncommon, and you could be ‘put through the system’. Arrested, finger printed, piles of paperwork, and eventually let go after perhaps 24 hours of no sleep, bad jail food, and apparently being treated like shit.
This all touches on how to actually deal with cops, a subject covered below.
It should be noted though that if you’re merely caught someplace by a security guard – a ‘rent a cop’ – these guys and gals make no money. Offer to leave quietly or if they’re a pain in the ass, slip them a 20. They have no right to actually hold you, take your property, or anything like that. Just leave. if they’re calling the cops, leave calmly and get the hell out of dodge once out of their sight. Cops take at least 5 minutes to show up, plenty of time for you to disappear.
DON’T be a dick to a cop.
It’s the worst thing you can do. if you’re friendly, you can probably talk your way out of anything minor. If you’re belligerent, it’s not going to go over very well and could escalate. It doesn’t matter how bad ass you think you are, or how many homies you’re down with hate cops too. Your boys aren’t going to come to your aid within mere minutes at 3AM on a wednesday night. Mess with a cop, and you’ll be dealing with a lot of them, very quickly, and they’re not going to be in the mood for any of your shit. You can find yourself charged with things you had nothing to do with.
The NYPD is nearly as large as the entire US Coast Guard. Unless you’ve got some standing army of 40k plus armed nutcases, you’re completely kidding yourself. The path of resistence here is to challenge anything in court. This is, afterall, trespassing. It’s the most minor of offenses. Courts usually throw it out completely.
Cops are to be avoided. Challenging one is pointless. If need be, save your challenging for court. The wise explorer knows when and where to make a stand.<