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Disorderly conduct is a criminal offense in New Jersey. While it might seem like a relatively minor criminal offense, having any type of record can negatively impact many aspects of your life. As a result, you need to take your case seriously, and you should talk to a New Jersey disorderly person's attorney as soon as possible.
The crime of disorderly conduct is defined in Section 2C:33-2 of the New Jersey Statutes. It can involve either “improper behavior” or “offensive language.”
You can be convicted of disorderly conduct based on improper behavior if, “with the purpose to cause public inconvenience, annoyance or alarm, or recklessly creating a risk thereof,” you:
What does this mean? Besides getting into a fight or making threats, other forms of conduct that can be prosecuted as disorderly conduct in New Jersey include ignoring instructions from a police officer, smoking where prohibited, interfering with traffic, and damaging public property. Based on the circumstances involved, such acts could also potentially lead to other criminal charges.
You can be convicted of disorderly conduct based on the offensive language if you use “unreasonably loud and offensively coarse or abusive language, given the circumstances,” in a public place and with the purpose of offending someone else. This may involve shouting obscenities, but it can include verbal altercations, insults, or racist or sexist language.
A key element of either type of disorderly conduct charge is that the conduct at issue must take place or impact the public in some way. Areas that are considered “public” under New Jersey’s disorderly conduct statute include (but are not limited to) highways, transport facilities, schools, prisons, apartment buildings, businesses, stadiums, and amusement parks, entertainment venues, and neighborhoods.
Disorderly conduct is classified as a petty disorderly person's offense under New Jersey law. This means that it carries up to a $500 fine and 30 days in jail.
In addition to a fine and possible jail time, a disorderly conduct conviction may also result in assessments to the Safe Neighborhood Service Fund and the Victim of Crime Compensation Board. The judge may also order restitution. If you were in your vehicle at the time of the arrest (i.e., if you were charged with disorderly conduct for yelling at a police officer during a traffic stop), you could lose your driver’s license for up to two years. With a disorderly conduct conviction on your record, you can face challenges with regard to finding a job and/or an apartment, obtaining child custody, and various other matters as well.
If you are facing a disorderly conduct charge in New Jersey, you should speak with a lawyer right away. To schedule an appointment with a New Jersey disorderly conduct lawyer at Helmer, Conley & Kasselman, P.A., call 877-435-6371 or contact us online now.
Don’t let your rights be jeopardized.