Jostling (NYPL 165.25)

The term “jostling” refers to an impatient person who jostles other people out of his/her way on a crowded bus or subway car. Jostling is defined as elbowing, pushing or bumping into another person in a crowded area. The victims may have their bags and cups of hot coffee jostled out of their hands by the one who is pushing and shoving.

Jostling can be an accident, particularly if you are riding a crowded subway or bus. However, jostling is also a technique used in order to effect a theft. Pickpockets bump or shove the victim, to permit entry into a pocket or purse for the theft. Sometimes, pickpockets have a partner who distract the victim by bumping and shoving. New york has passed a jostling law in response to the pickpocketing problem that exists in crowded public places such as subways.

Jostling. N. Y. Penal Law § 165.25

A person is guilty of jostling when, in a public place, he intentionally and unnecessarily:

  1. Places his hand in the proximity of a person’s pocket or handbag; or
  2. Jostles or crowds another person at a time when a third person’s hand is in the proximity of such person’s pocket or handbag.

Jostling is a class A misdemeanor. You could be sent to county jail for up to one year and you may be required to pay a fine. It is also possible for the judge to sentence you to a probation term of 3 years.

If your jostling of another person was purely accidental and you had no intention of stealing from that person, then you have a valid defense to a charge of jostling. Even though jostling is a misdemeanor and not a felony, it is still important to have experienced representation