Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Disorderly Persons Offenses & Municipal Ordinances
What's The Difference?

As Disorderly Persons Offense & Municipal Ordinance lawyers in New Jersey, we wrote this article to help you understand the difference between the two.

When a Disorderly Persons background check is performed, be prepared! Whoever is running the background check will learn of your conviction. Employers will either demand an explanation or terminate employment. Universities may suspend or expel. 

An Ordinance conviction will also pop up on a background check. However, 

Does an ordinance violation go on your record?

In our experience, an Ordinance conviction will also pop up on a background check. 

However, it’s easier to explain an Ordinance conviction to an employer than it is to explain a Disorderly Persons offense for shoplifting.

Common New Jersey Ordinance Violations

New Jersey towns have the authority to enact laws that protect their local citizens.

These laws are called “Ordinances”.

Since each NJ town is unique, so are their local laws.

However, almost all towns have laws against the following:

  • Public Intoxication
  • Disturbing the Peace
  • Excessive Noise within City Limits
  • Underage Drinking
  • Public Nuisances
  • Consuming Alcohol in Public Places
  • Public Urination

How long does a disorderly persons conviction stay on your record?

If you plead guilty or are found guilty of a Disorderly Persons Offense, the conviction will stay on your record for five years.

After you pay all fines & comply with all conditions of your sentence, you may Expunge your record.

Common Disorderly Persons offenses include: Harassment, Resisting Arrest, Obstruction of Justice, Eluding, Marijuana Possession, and Simple Assault.

If you plead guilty or are found guilty of a Disorderly Persons offense, you face up to six months in jail and up to a one thousand dollar fine.

For example, if you were sentenced to pay fines, the five years starts running once you pay all fines.

How long does a Municipal Ordinance conviction stay on your record?

If you plead guilty or are found guilty of a Municipal Ordinance, the conviction will stay on your record for two years.

After you pay all fines & comply with all conditions of your sentence, you may Expunge your record.

Will a disorderly persons conviction affect employment

There is not a “yes” or “no” answer to this question. 
Some employers only want employees with impeccable records. 
Other employers could care less. 
Yes, it all depends on the type of employment you have or are seeking.
For example, if you are seeking to become a bank cashier, a Disorderly Persons conviction for theft will probably be problematic.
However, if you are seeking employment as a waitress, a conviction for simple marijuana possession can be explained
After all, your employer may have liberal views when it comes to decriminalizing marijuana possession.

Will a Municipal Ordinance conviction affect employment

Again, this is not a simple question to answer.

Everything depends on your employer’s demands & expectations.

However, since an ordinance violation is extremely common, it is more acceptable than a criminal charge.

Suggestion: take the first step & Be upfront

If you know that your employer intends to run a background check, beat him to the punch. Be the first to reveal the surprise. In this way, you will have the best opportunity to explain your story. Moreover, your employer will perceive you as honest and trustworthy.
 
Think about it. You may never get an opportunity to explain your Disorderly Persons conviction. Once your future employer sees a conviction on your record, you may never get a callback. Take some time at the end of your interview to bring it up. Clear it up and ask your potential employer if he/she has any questions.
Remember, people can be very understanding.

But my lawyer said...

Under the New Jersey criminal code, a Disorderly Persons offense is “not a crime”.

But try explaining this to your employer or future employer.

Chances are that the person running a background check on you is not a criminal defense attorney.
It’s understandable that when someone sees a “conviction”, the logical conclusion is that you’ve been convicted of a crime.

Your lawyer may have explained this to you but it’s still a hard concept for people to understand.

important tip: get a letter from your lawyer

Provide your employer with a letter from your lawyer explaining your conviction.
Even if your criminal lawyer charges you a few bucks for this letter, it’s a worthwhile investment.
The letter will explain that in New Jersey a Disorderly Persons offenses is not a crime.
It’s also good for your lawyer to offer to answer any questions your employer may have.

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If you would like to meet with us to discuss your case, we offer FREE consultations.

About the Author

Attorney Alan G. Peyrouton

Attorney At Law

Mr. Peyrouton is a Criminal Defense Attorney located in Hackensak, NJ.

His articles in the areas of Criminal Law have been published in The New Jersey Law Journal.

He is a distinguished author, trial attorney, and has had the privilege of arguing before the New Jersey Supreme Court.

Prior to becoming an attorney, Mr. Peyrouton was a world-class, competitive tennis player.

He is perfectly fluent in Spanish.