What do Disorderly Persons Charges Entail?
New Jersey legal terminology can be confusing. For starters, many individuals who have been charged with disorderly conduct charges believe that is the same as disorderly persons, and vice versa. Disorderly persons offenses are a classification of charges which replace what many other states consider misdemeanors. Criminal charges with a “degree” are considered felony charges in New Jersey. There is also a classification known as petty disorderly persons offenses which are charges of an even lesser degree.
Today, our disorderly persons and petty disorderly persons defense attorney will be defining disorderly persons charges, discussing what actions may lead to disorderly persons charges, and the penalties which may come from a conviction.
Answers: Are Disorderly Persons Charges Crimes?
The short answer is yes, disorderly persons offenses are criminal offenses in New Jersey. Penalties for disorderly persons offenses can include spending time in county jail, heavy fines, and a permanent mark on your public criminal record. These court proceedings are handled in the local Municipal Court where the alleged crimes took place.
However, disorderly persons offenses are not considered indictable offenses, or felonies, in New Jersey. Indictable felony charges are heard in New Jersey Superior court and may involve a jury of your peers. Felonies are never able to be expunged from your permanent record, whereas disorderly persons and petty disorderly persons may be expunged after a five (5) year period.
Westfield Municipal Court Defense Lawyer Identifies Types of Disorderly Persons Charges
There are two basic types of criminal charges in New Jersey for non-indictable crimes: disorderly persons charges and petty disorderly persons charges. Common examples of disorderly persons and petty disorderly charges include:
- Marijuana possession in an amount of fewer than 50 grams
- Simple Assault
- Shoplifting in an amount less than $200
- Disorderly Conduct
- Possession of Drug Paraphernalia
- Underage Possession of Alcohol
- Resisting Arrest
- Much more
Elizabeth Disorderly Persons Attorney Discusses Penalties and Legal Defenses
Convictions of disorderly persons offenses in New Jersey may result in up to six (6) months in County Jail, fines ranging up to $1,000, a probationary period, and a mark on your public criminal record. Again, although these charges are considered relatively minor, they are will still show up on criminal background checks, potentially impacting your career, financial wellbeing, and other areas of your personal life.
The good news for those charged with disorderly persons crimes in New Jersey is that a qualified Elizabeth disorderly persons attorney may be able to have your charges reduced to an ordinance violation. Ordinance violations are not considered criminal offenses, and do not include the potential for jail time nor will they appear on your criminal record.
A common example of a downgrade from a disorderly persons offense to an ordinance violation would be in the case of underage drinking. A skilled attorney may be able to have your charges reduced, effectively changing your legal problems from a criminal charge to the equivalent of a parking ticket. It is worth noting that fines for ordinance violations can still be high, sometimes reaching $2,000. However, this is often worth the reduced repercussions for many individuals.
Contact a Linden Disorderly Persons Defense Lawyer Today
Disorderly persons and petty disorderly persons defense attorney Edward S. Cooper understands that although disorderly persons charges are lesser criminal charges, they are still potentially life-altering. That is why our firm is dedicated to providing experienced and thorough legal protection for our clients facing criminal charges in Union County towns including Westfield, Linden, Elizabeth, Union, Plainfield, Scotch Plains, and all of Northern New Jersey. If you or a loved one is facing charges including drug offenses, DWI or DUI, traffic offenses, or any other disorderly persons charges, you do not need to fight these legal battles alone.
Contact us online or through our Linden offices by calling 98987987 today for a confidential consultation with a member of our experienced and qualified legal team regarding your disorderly persons or petty disorderly persons charges.