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NY Penal Law § 165.25: Jostling

June 29, 2020 Federal Criminal Attorneys

In the New York criminal code, the term “jostling” is defined as elbowing, pushing or bumping into another individual in a crowded area. Jostling a person can be an accident, particularly if you are riding in a crowded subway car or a packed bus. Nevertheless, jostling is a crime because it is also a known technique that people use in order to effect a theft. Under New York Penal Law § 165.25, it is a criminal act to:


  1. Place your hand on or near another individual’s pocket or handbag, or
  2. Crowd or jostle an individual to create a diversion while an accomplice’s hand is near that person’s pocket or handbag


If you are up against a charge of jostling, you are also very likely to also be charged with a connected theft crime, such as petit larceny.  An additional charge you could face is a criminal possession of stolen property offense.


An Example

Ted and Angus were standing on either side of Zainab, along with a number of other people waiting for a bus on the sidewalk. Angus’s hand was very close to Zainab’s purse. At the moment that Ted pretended to accidentally bump into Zainab, Angus put his hand inside of Zainab’s purse, slipped her wallet out, and walked away. Ted politely apologized to Zainab for his clumsiness and he also quickly walked away from the scene. A few moments later, Zainab realized what had happened and notified a nearby police officer. Fortunately for Zainab, the police were able to quickly apprehend both Ted and Angus. Both Ted and Angus could be charged with the crime of jostling. In this scenario, they could also face charges of petit larceny as well as criminal possession of stolen property.


Offenses that are Related

Criminal possession of stolen property in the fifth degree: New York Penal Law § 165.40

Petit larceny: New York Penal Law § 155.25

Grand larceny in the fourth degree: New York Penal Law § 155.30


Possible Defenses

If you can demonstrate to the court that your jostling of another person was purely accidental and that you had no intention of stealing from that individual, then you have a valid defense against a charge of jostling.


The Sentence

Due to the fact that jostling is categorized as a Class A misdemeanor, if you are convicted, you could be sent to county jail to serve up to one year.  On top of that, you may also be ordered by the judge to pay a fine. It is additionally possible for the judge to sentence you to a probation term of 3 years.



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