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NY Penal Law § 165.25: Jostling

Jostling is defined as elbowing, pushing or bumping into another person in a crowded area. 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. Under New York Penal Law § 165.25, it is a crime to:

  1. Place your hand near another person's pocket or handbag, or
  2. Crowd or jostle a person while an accomplice's hand is near that person's pocket or handbag

If you are charged with jostling you are also likely to also be charged with a theft crime such as petit larceny as well as criminal possession of stolen property.


Ted and Bill were standing on either side of Sue along with several other people waiting for a bus. Bill's hand was near Sue's purse. At the moment that Ted bumped into Sue Bill reached into Sue's purse, grabbed her wallet and walked away. Ted apologized to Sue for his clumsiness and quickly walked away. A few moments later Sue realized what happened and notified the police. Fortunately for Sue the police were able to quickly apprehend Ted and Bill. Both Ted and Bill could be charged with jostling. They could also face petit larceny charges as well as criminal possession of stolen property.

Related Offenses
  1. Petit larceny: New York Penal Law § 155.25
  2. Grand larceny in the fourth degree: New York Penal Law § 155.30
  3. Criminal possession of stolen property in the fifth degree: New York Penal Law § 165.40

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.


Because jostling is a Class A misdemeanor if you are convicted 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.

New York Penal Law § 165.25: Jostling

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.
New York Jostling Lawyer

Even though jostling is a misdemeanor and not a felony, it is still important to have experienced representation. The staff at Stephen Bilkis & Associates, PLLC has years of experience successfully defending clients in New York criminal courts who have been charged with crimes such as criminal possession of stolen property, fraudulent accosting, petit larceny, grand larceny, harassment, and criminal mischief. Contact us at 800.696.9529 to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We serve those accused of theft crimes in the following locations:

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