Every crime in New Jersey is grouped into a classification based on the seriousness of the charge. As the crimes get more serious or violent, the penalties and consequences change. Essentially, the punishments get worse as the charges get more serious.
“Disorderly persons offenses” are one category of criminal charges under NJ law. They are actually one of the most common charges that lead to arrests for New Jersey citizens and people visiting from other states.
Arrested for a Disorderly Persons Offense in NJ
In other states, disorderly persons offenses are referred to as “misdemeanors.” They are simply less serious criminal offenses. In New Jersey, disorderly persons charges will be addressed in municipal court. Although these charges are less serious, you can still end up with a criminal conviction on your record because of this type of charge. They will stay on your criminal record for life, which means that they will show up on background checks run by potential employers, colleges and universities, and police department if you apply for a gun permit.
There are also two classifications of disorderly persons offenses: petty or regular disorderly persons charges. Petty disorderly offenses are less severe compared to a standard disorderly persons offense.
Common Disorderly Persons Offenses in New Jersey
Interestingly, disorderly conduct is actually a petty disorderly persons offense. The other very common petty disorderly persons offense is harassment.
Most other charges that fall under the disorderly persons “umbrella” of crimes will be disorderly persons offenses. These types of offenses include things like shoplifting or criminal mischief that results in less than $200 in damages or loss. Simple assault, which may occur when there is a fight between two parties or an attempt to harm another person, is also a disorderly persons offense. Possession of less than 50 grams of marijuana is a disorderly persons offense, too.
Consequences of NJ Disorderly Persons Charges
Petty disorderly persons offenses have a fine of $500, and you can end up with jail time of up to 90 days. Disorderly persons offenses have maximum penalties of up $1,000, and the maximum time in jail is 6 months. You can also be sentenced to do community service, pay additional fines, and court costs if convicted of a DP offense. Of course, having this type of offense on your record can also affect you for years to come. It could hinder your employment situation, including your ability to get a job in the future. It may also affect professional licenses and create immigration issues. If you are convicted of another crime in the future, your first offense could have an effect on the sentence you receive in the second case too.
Need a Lawyer to Defend Me for Disorderly Persons Case near Morristown
Due to the wide-ranging consequences that a disorderly persons offense conviction could have, it is vital that you put up a vigorous defense in these cases. One of your potential options is to have the charge “downgraded” to a Municipal Ordinance infraction, which has less severe consequences, or have it dismissed altogether.
A talented Morristown, New Jersey criminal defense attorney at our firm can help you explore your options if you have been charged with a disorderly persons offense. We are here to help you determine what the best course of action is to minimize the impact that this charge has on the rest of your life. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you.