Disorderly Persons Attorney NJ 2C:52-3 – Disorderly Persons Offenses NJ 2C:52-3 – Is a disorderly persons offense a crime?
“As a criminal defense attorney in New Jersey, I handle disorderly persons offenses on a regular basis. These charges are straight forward, and are not difficult to handle in the courtroom.”
If you or a loved one has been charged with a disorderly persons offense in New Jersey, I’m sure you have a few questions. The most common are the following:
Are there ways to fight or beat my case?
Yes, there are ways that you can fight almost any criminal charge. Disorderly Persons offenses could apply to drug charges, disorderly conduct, or a number of other charges. Either look through the Strategy Videos (listed on the navigation bar above) to find a defense method for a specific charge type, or take a look through our Top 5 Ways To Beat A Criminal Charge for some methods that can work in any case.
Am I going to jail?
If you have no prior record, in most cases the answer is no. On a disorderly persons offense, you are facing a maximum of six (6) months in the county jail. However, if you have no prior record, there is a presumption of non-incarceration.
This means that it is presumed you will not receive a jail sentence based on your lack of prior record. If you do have a prior record, on the other hand, you could very well be facing jail time.
Is a disorderly persons offense a criminal offense?
Yes. It’s like a misdemeanor. If you are convicted of a disorderly persons offense or petty disorderly persons offense, it will show up on your permanent record. This means that, if an employer or school runs a background check on you, this offense will show up on your record.
Where will this charge be handled?
The case will be tried in the local municipal court in the municipality in which you were charged. For example, if you are charged with disorderly conduct in Morristown, New Jersey, this charge will be handled in the Morristown Municipal Court.
Is it possible to expunge these charges if I am convicted?
Yes, it is a five (5) year waiting period and you can apply to have this charge expunged. However, if you have other things on your record you may not be eligible for an expungement.
What type of fine am I facing on a disorderly persons offense?
Typically, $1,000.00. On a petty disorderly persons offense, $500.00.
Is there any way to get out of these charges?
Yes. An experienced lawyer may be able to get the charges dismissed entirely, get you into a diversionary program like a conditional discharge so you can avoid a record, or negotiate a downgrade so you plead guilty to something non-criminal and preserve your record.
Some disorderly persons we typically handle include the following:
- Possession of Marijuana (under 50 grams)
- Possession of Drug Paraphernalia
- Simple Assault
- Disorderly Conduct
- Possession of a Fake ID
- Underage Possession of Alcohol
- Shoplifting (in an amount less than $200)
Disorderly Persons Offense vs. Municipal Ordinance Violation
One typical downgrade for a disorderly persons offense is an amendment to a municipal ordinance violation. This makes a criminal disorderly persons offense a non-criminal municipal ordinance violation.
Let me give you an example. I often represent clients charged with disorderly conduct for alcohol related incidents in Morristown, Hoboken, Belmar, Seaside Heights, Manasquan etc. where there is a significant bar scene. They are given a criminal complaint for disorderly conduct, a disorderly persons offense.
If they are convicted of this charge, they will have a permanent criminal charge on their record (subject to expungement in some cases after five (5) years). I am often able to negotiate a downgrade of the disorderly conduct charge to a noise violation, a municipal ordinance violation. This results in a fine and no criminal record. It’s on the level of a littering ticket. It would be similar to having a party at your house and having too many people over and your neighbor’s call the police and the police write you a ticket for a noise violation.
This is crucial for my clients who are able to pay a fine and avoid a criminal charge on their record.