Under New Jersey state law, there is a difference between a disorderly persons offense and an indictable offense. A disorderly persons offense generally falls into the category of acts that disturb the peace, shoplifting, public lewdness, fighting, threatening, creating dangerous conditions, or inconveniencing the public. If a person is caught with alcohol while he or she is underage, has less that 50 grams of marijuana on his or her person, possesses drug paraphernalia or commits a simple assault, these are also often grounds for a charge of disorderly conduct.
Whereas an indictable offense is often brought before a grand jury in order for the prosecutor to present the case for an indictment to go to trial, a disorderly persons offense is generally heard in one of New Jersey’s municipal courts. Disorderly persons charges are not a small thing. In addition to the inconvenience of having to deal with going to court and navigating the legal system, there are also penalties attached to a conviction that can range from fines to jail time.
Penalties for a Disorderly Persons Offense
If the individual has no prior criminal record, the chances of receiving jail time for a disorderly persons offense may be slim. There is the possibility, however, that the individual may face the prospect of a maximum of six months in jail if the judge sees that it is warranted. For a conviction for an act that is classified as a disorderly persons offense, there are always fines in an amount as high as $1,000. Certain disorderly persons charges can also involve the suspension of the defendant’s driver’s license for up to two years in the event of conviction. Some disorderly persons convictions may even prohibit someone from getting employment with a school under New Jersey law.
A conviction or guilty plea for a disorderly persons offense will show up on a criminal record, therefore it will be visible to anyone conducting a background check required for certain jobs. The conviction or guilty plea for a disorderly persons offense can be expunged from the individual’s record provided he or she doesn’t have more than three disorderly persons offense on the record and they have never been convicted of an indictable offense. The expungement can be sought five years following the conviction. If the disorderly persons offense is expunged, it will no longer appear on background checks.
Speak to a NJ Disorderly Persons Offense Attorney
If you have been charged with a disorderly persons offense in Ocean County or Monmouth County, New Jersey, it’s imperative that you are aware of your rights. The experienced criminal defense lawyers at the Villani & DeLuca in Point Pleasant Beach, New Jersey are available to help you understand your rights and the potential effects of the charge you are facing.
Whether you have been charged with a disorderly persons offense in Long Branch, Toms River or any other town in New Jersey, it’s key to have an attorney to help you achieve a positive outcome from the case and perhaps have the incident erased from your record. Contact Villani & DeLuca today for a free consultation regarding your disorderly persons charge.