A disorderly persons offense is the equivalent of a misdemeanor in other states. New Jersey treats a disorderly persons offense as a minor criminal offense. Although NJ’s criminal code only designates indictable offenses as crimes, a disorderly persons offense conviction will complicate your life.
If you’ve been charged with a disorderly persons offense, it’s not the end of the world. As criminal lawyers, we’ve represented thousands of clients with disorderly persons offense charges. Our main goal is to get the charges dismissed but if this is not possible, we work out favorable plea deals. Often, we can get a disorderly persons offense downgraded or amended to a local ordinance.
A typical marijuana possession charge starts out as a traffic violation. Whether our clients are in Bergen, Essex, Hudson, or Passaic County, these disorderly persons offense charges stem from a speeding or other traffic stop. The police approach the vehicle to request the driver’s credentials when they smell the strong odor of marijuana emanating from the vehicle.
Simple assault is another disorderly persons offense. These charges often arise in domestic violence situations & restraining orders are issued. If your disorderly persons charge involves domestic violence, you will not be eligible for the conditional dismissal program.
Resisting arrest & obstruction of justice are two disorderly persons offenses that are usually charged together. By their definitions, one necessarily creates the other. When you resist arrest, you obstruct justice & vice versa. Our criminal lawyers have handled countless cases like these. Let us help you now with yours.
Another set of disorderly persons offenses commonly charged together are lewdness & criminal mischief. Criminal mischief usually has to do with the destruction of another’s property but there’s a catchall provision that covers broad conduct. Lewdness can either be a sex crime or an offensive act like urinating in public. Since we are discussing lewdness as a disorderly persons offense, chances are that if you were caught in public urinating on someone’s property (causing damage), then you may be facing these two charges.
A disorderly persons offense or petty disorderly persons offense conviction will leave with a criminal record. And yes, they will pop up on a background check. If you have a professional license i.e., teacher, nurse, pharmacist, stockbroker, etc., you can face suspension and/or termination.
In addition to fines, you will have to pay:
Disorderly persons cases are handled in Municipal Court. Each municipality in New Jersey has its own municipal court. For example, Hackensack, Jersey City, Newark, and Paterson all have their own court. Your case will be resolved in the town/city where you were charged.
If you go to trial, your case will not go before a jury. Instead, the local municipal court judge will decide your guilt or innocence. If you are found guilty at trial and you are not eligible for a diversionary program, your disorderly persons conviction will stay on your record for 5 years. You must appeal the municipal judge’s decision within 20 days.
All appeals of municipal court decisions take place at the county level.
New Jersey offers two types of diversionary programs for a disorderly persons offense.
In non-drug cases, you may be eligible for the conditional dismissal program. Successful completion in either of these two programs will result in the dismissal of your criminal charges. You will not get a criminal conviction on your record & you will improve your chances of keeping your employment. Once dismissed, these charges will not appear in a background check. However, it is important to expunge the arrest record once your charges get dismissed.
A disorderly persons offense conviction may have serious immigration consequences. Although you may plead guilty to a disorderly persons offense and avoid jail, if you are not a United States citizen, you just might yourself under deportation proceedings. Under federal immigration law, a disorderly persons offense may be considered a crime involving moral turpitude. So you might think that it’s ok to pay a fine in municipal court & be done with your case only to find out that immigration will revoke your green card or place under deportation proceedings. Let us help you.
You or a loved one have been arrested. Understandably, you are terrified & have a lot of questions. You’ve heard about plea bargains & probation, but the process is overwhelming. You want a local attorney near you to represent you.
Mr. Peyrouton is from Ridgewood & handles all types of criminal matters in New Jersey complex as well as nearby cities. The New Jersey Law Journal recently published one of his articles on the subject of criminal law.
Regardless of the criminal charges you are facing, we are here to defend & protect you. Whether you are facing a restraining order, drug charge, theft charge, or aggravated assault charge, we are here to help you. Even a DWI case can really complicate your life.
If we can’t get your charges dismissed, we can either get them downgraded or place you in a diversionary program. The point is, our criminal defense lawyers will fight tirelessly to get you the best result possible. Take advantage of our free consultation to see how we can help.
Below, you will find a few of our practice areas.
Our Hackensack criminal lawyers represent clients in Bergen County & nearby counties & cities.
There are plenty of excellent Hackensack criminal lawyers in our area. Most, if not all of them, offer free, 20-minute, consultations. However, our free consultations do not have a time limit. You will never feel rushed.
The best way for us to help you is to patiently listen to your side of the story. Your version of events will serve as the basis for your legal defense. It is during these initial meetings that your memory of the event is fresh in your mind. Why we would rush you during such an important aspect of your case.
We understand that your choice of attorney could mean the difference between your freedom and spending years behind bars.
When you hire an attorney, you are entering a long-term relationship. For this reason, it is important that you feel comfortable with the team of Hackensack criminal lawyers that will represent you.
a. Inflict bodily injury on or physically confine or restrain anyone or commit any other criminal offense;
b. Accuse anyone of an offense or cause charges of an offense to be instituted against any person;
c. Expose or publicize any secret or any asserted fact, whether true or false, tending to subject any person to hatred, contempt or ridicule, or to impair his credit or business repute;
d. Take or withhold action as an official, or cause an official to take or withhold action;
e. Bring about or continue a strike, boycott or other collective action, if the property is not demanded or received for the benefit of the group in whose interest the actor purports to act;
f. Testify or provide information or withhold testimony or information with respect to another’s legal claim or defense; or
g. Inflict any other harm which would not substantially benefit the actor but which is calculated to materially harm another person.
***It is an affirmative defense to prosecution based on paragraphs b, c, d or f that the property obtained was honestly claimed as restitution or indemnification for harm done in the circumstances or as lawful compensation for property or services.
Reasonable suspicion is a “search” standard that applies in criminal law.
When a police officer conducts a warrantless search, and does not have probable cause to justify the search, the courts look to see if the police had
a “reasonable & articulable suspicion” for the search.
A mere “hunch” is not enough.
In other words, a police officer has to provide an acceptable explanation for the search.
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
a. A court imposing a sentence of incarceration for a crime of the first or second degree enumerated in subsection d. of this section shall fix a minimum term of 85% of the sentence imposed, during which the defendant shall not be eligible for parole.
b. The minimum term required by subsection a. of this section shall be fixed as a part of every sentence of incarceration imposed upon every conviction of a crime enumerated in subsection d. of this section, whether the sentence of incarceration is determined pursuant to N.J.S.2C:43-6, N.J.S.2C:43-7, N.J.S.2C:11-3 or any other provision of law, and shall be calculated based upon the sentence of incarceration actually imposed. The provisions of subsection a. of this section shall not be construed or applied to reduce the time that must be served before eligibility for parole by an inmate sentenced to a mandatory minimum period of incarceration. Solely for the purpose of calculating the minimum term of parole ineligibility pursuant to subsection a. of this section, a sentence of life imprisonment shall be deemed to be 75 years.
c. Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary and in addition to any other sentence imposed, a court imposing a minimum period of parole ineligibility of 85 percent of the sentence pursuant to this section shall also impose a five-year term of parole supervision if the defendant is being sentenced for a crime of the first degree, or a three-year term of parole supervision if the defendant is being sentenced for a crime of the second degree. The term of parole supervision shall commence upon the completion of the sentence of incarceration imposed by the court pursuant to subsection a. of this section unless the defendant is serving a sentence of incarceration for another crime at the time he completes the sentence of incarceration imposed pursuant to subsection a., in which case the term of parole supervision shall commence immediately upon the defendant’s release from incarceration. During the term of parole supervision the defendant shall remain in release status in the community in the legal custody of the Commissioner of the Department of Corrections and shall be supervised by the State Parole Board as if on parole and shall be subject to the provisions and conditions