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Disorderly Persons Offenses in New Jersey

May 16, 2011 | Posted In Resources - Criminal Law |

Disorderly Persons Offenses in New Jersey

New Jersey laws categorize criminal offenses as indictable crimes and disorderly persons offenses.  In other states, indictable crimes are known as felonies, while disorderly persons offenses are known as misdemeanors.  Indictable crimes can include murder, assault and sex crimes, while disorderly persons charges are typically filed in the case of low-level criminal offenses.

Most disorderly persons offenses are heard in Municipal Courts.  Disorderly persons offenses constitute a substantial percentage of criminal offenses prosecuted in New Jersey every year. 

In New Jersey, disorderly persons offenses typically include smaller crimes like:

  • Petty theft;
  • Prostitution;
  • Harassment;
  • Vandalism;
  • Trespassing;
  • Possession of a small amount of drugs. A person who is in possession of less than 50 g of marijuana, for instance, may be charged with a disorderly persons offense;
  • Simple assault; and
  • Shoplifting of something of low value.

A person facing these charges does not have the right to trial by jury.  Penalties for a disorderly persons offense conviction can include up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000, as well as probation.  You may even have your driver’s license suspended. 

Under New Jersey law, disorderly persons offense convictions cannot be expunged from records for five years.  That means, through this period of time, you'll continue to have a conviction on your record, possibly hampering your employment prospects.  For instance, even a minor conviction for shoplifting could damage your application for a job in the accounting/financial field.

The New Jersey criminal defense lawyers at Helmer Paul Conley and Kasselman represent persons charged with disorderly persons offenses across New Jersey.

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