What are Disorderly Person Offenses?
The most common non-vehicular charges prosecuted in the Municipal Court of New Jersey are disorderly persons and petty disorderly persons offenses, defined under NJSA 2C:1-4. These are New Jersey’s version of misdemeanors and are not considered indictable crimes (felonies), thus they cannot to heard by a grand jury or go to a jury trial. However, this does not mean they do not carry potentially serious consequences such as fines, jail time, and a mark on your permanent criminal record.
What are Considered Disorderly Persons Offenses?
Disorderly persons offenses and petty disorderly persons offenses cover a wide range of charges. Some of the offenses included are the following:
- Simple Assault
- Disorderly Conduct
- Resisting Arrest
- Writing Bad Checks
- Public Lewdness
- Underage Drinking
- Possession of Marijuana (less than 50 grams)
- Possession of Drug Paraphernalia
- Shoplifting (more than $2 but less than $200 of retail value)
- Petty Theft Charges (less than $200 in value)
- Criminal Mischief Offenses (less than $500 in damages)
- Receipt of Stolen Property (less than $200 in value)
What are the Penalties for Disorderly Persons Offenses?
Disorderly persons offenses carry the potential for up to $1000 in fines, plus additional fees and court costs, as well as the possibility of up to 6 months of jail time. Depending on the offense, you may also have your driver’s license suspended or revoked or be required to do community service. You may also get a mark on your criminal record, which can impact your ability to find a job, rent a house or apartment or apply for a professional license. A disorderly persons offense can sometimes be expunged from your record. However, this will take 5 years from the conviction or guilty plea and you must have no more than three disorderly persons offenses and no indictable crimes.
Contact Schneider Freiberger Today
If you have been charged with a disorderly persons offense, it helps to have an experienced lawyer by your side, especially since a conviction might mean harsher sentences if you are convicted of later crimes. At Schneider Freiberger, P.C., we can help you understand your rights and options and work to minimize your penalties. Contact Schneider Freiberger today to discuss your case.