If you have been charged with disorderly conduct in violation of N.J.S. 2C:33-2, it is imperative that you contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer for help. Disorderly conduct can be a fight, a loud argument, drunk and disorderly, or improper behavior towards law enforcement. For example, Snooki, from the Jersey Shore TV show, was charged with disorderly conduct last year for being drunk and disorderly on the beach in Seaside Heights, New Jersey. For additional information, see the AOL News article entitled, “Snooki arrested for being Snooki: What defines disorderly conduct?”. I was previously cited in that article as an authority on disorderly conduct.

N.J.S. 2C:33-2 provides in pertinent part:

a. Improper behavior. A person is guilty of a petty disorderly persons offense, if with purpose to cause public inconvenience, annoyance or alarm, or recklessly creating a risk thereof he

(1) Engages in fighting or threatening, or in violent or tumultuous behavior; or

(2) Creates a hazardous or physically dangerous condition by any act which serves no legitimate purpose of the actor.

b. Offensive language. A person is guilty of a petty disorderly persons offense if, in a public place, and with purpose to offend the sensibilities of a hearer or in reckless disregard of the probability of so doing, he addresses unreasonably loud and offensively coarse or abusive language, given the circumstances of the person present and the setting of the utterance, to any person present.

A petty disorderly persons offense includes up to thirty (30) days in the county jail if convicted and results in a permanent criminal charge on your record (which may be expunged after five (5) years in certain cases). If you hire an experienced criminal lawyer, he or she may be able to negotiate a downgrade of your criminal offense for disorderly conduct to a violation of a municipal ordinance for “disturbing the peace” or a “noise” violation, depending on the municipality. Each municipality has a different local ordinance for general disorderly conduct. If you plead guilty to a violation of a municipal ordinance, this results in a fine and no criminal record. This charge is on the same level as a littering ticket or a noise violation for having a party at your house and making too much noise. Obviously, this is a very positive result as opposed to a criminal charge for disorderly conduct.