A fresh start and a clean slate for both the accused and the justice system were the main reasons why dozens lined up outside a building in Harlem Saturday — eager to clear their names of low-level offense summons and warrants. NY1's Bree Driscoll explains how it worked.

Upper west Side Resident Ronald Townsend showed up to the Soul Saving Station in Harlem Saturday so he can move on with his life.

"I am out here today because I have a warrant with the open container and I keep getting pulled over for it so I am going to get it over with because I am getting ready to go back to work and do things so I just want to get that over with," Townsend said.

He says the warrant has been holding him back.

"Oh, I got arrested three times for it."

He hopes to end that cycle at the Clean Slate event. Here individuals can resolve low level summonses for things like drinking in public and disorderly conduct and have any warrants associated with these offenses forgiven.

"The purpose of this event is to have people with minor minor infractions people who didn't show up in courts for whatever reason get a clean slate," said Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, Jr. " From a DA's perspective it enables us to focus our efforts on the more serious cases and get rid of the cases that don't really belong in criminal court."

The Legal Aid Society was also on hand to counsel individuals, represent them, and help them understand the process.

"They think of it administratively, they've got to pay a fine, they can mail it in, they forget," said Irwin Shaw with Legal Aid Society. "So I don't think they realize that this has significance as well."

The Manhattan District Attorney's office also sent out 3,000 letters to individuals with low level summonses encouraging them to attend the event.  A move that paid off with hundreds of people showing up.

"It frees a lot of people," said Brooklyn resident Jaimie Pierson. "It is very stressful when you know you have a warrant out for your arrest."

"I am just elated," said Manhattan resident Michael Stewart. "You know it is just a weight off my back because honestly I couldn't afford it."

This was the first event of its kind in Manhattan.  District Attorney Vance says judging by its success he hopes to hold more of these events and possibly make it a quarterly occurrence. 

"See if we can make a dent in this back log of cases," the DA said.

While the free event was held in Manhattan it was open to individuals from all five Boroughs.