NJ 2C:33-2 – Disorderly Conduct Statute

Defending NJ 2C:33-2.  Disorderly conduct.

After you read the 2C:33-2 NJ criminal statute (disorderly conduct) you may decide that you need the help of a NJ disorderly conduct lawyer, or need a legal interpretation of how this statute applies to your case.  The firm of Villani & DeLuca has experienced criminal lawyers with over 20 years of experience, including a former municipal prosecutor.  Call the number above for a free 24×7 phone consultation or read more about the disorderly conduct charge below.

What is Disorderly Conduct?

Disorderly conduct (2C:33-2) is a charge that is often referred to as a “catch-all” because it encompasses so many different types of behavior. It is often written in conjunction with other charges such as simple assault and loitering. In general, you will be charged with disorderly conduct in NJ if you engage in improper behavior in a public place. Examples of improper behavior include: using offensive or abusive language, engaging in fighting or threatening in a violent manner, or creating a hazardous environment which serves no legitimate purpose to the actor. These definitions are very broad to encompass a lot of different situations.

What Must the Prosecutor do to Obtain a Disorderly Conduct Conviction?

In general, the prosecutor must rely on evidence collected in order to prove the charge. For a disorderly conduct charge, the prosecutor must bring forth testimony by those who witnessed the behavior. A witness may be the police officer who charged you or anyone else who was there during the incident in question. Physical evidence may also be presented in the form of audio recording or videotape surveillance.

The prosecutor must also show that the disorderly conduct incident happened in a “public place”. This may seem obvious, but it is not. A “public place” refers to a place that is in fact public such as a highway, sidewalk or street. It could also refer to a place where a substantial group of people has access, such as an apartment complex or private amusement park.

How Can I Defend a Disorderly Conduct Charge?

Since the burden of proof is on the prosecutor to prove the charges against you, you will need to poke holes in his or her evidence. For example, you have the ability to present your own witnesses whose perception was different from that of the police officer’s. Also, you may also present videotape and audiotape evidence of the incident. A practiced NJ disorderly conduct lawyer can also present evidence establishing that the location of the incident was not public. All of these defenses may help to get the charges reduced or dropped altogether.

If I’m Convicted of Disorderly Conduct, What Penalties do I Face?

Disorderly conduct is a disorderly persons offense in New Jersey. A disorderly persons offense may carry a fine of up to $500.00, possible jail time, community service, and payments of restitution for any damage caused. To avoid these penalties, contact the disorderly conduct lawyers at Villani & DeLuca, P.C. for representation in your disorderly conduct charge.

NJ Statute: 2C:33-2.  Disorderly conduct.

a.  Improper behavior.    A person is guilty of a petty disorderly persons  offense, if with purpose to cause public inconvenience, annoyance or alarm, or  recklessly creating a risk thereof he

(1) Engages in fighting or threatening, or in violent or tumultuous behavior;  or

(2) Creates a hazardous or physically dangerous condition by any act which serves no legitimate purpose of the actor.

b.  Offensive language.    A person is guilty of a petty disorderly persons offense if, in a public place, and with purpose to offend the sensibilities of a hearer or in reckless disregard of the probability of so doing, he addresses unreasonably loud and offensively coarse or abusive language, given the circumstances of the person present and the setting of the utterance, to any person present.

“Public”  means affecting or likely to affect persons in a place to which the public or a substantial group has access;  among the places included are highways, transport facilities, schools, prisons, apartment houses, places of business or amusement, or any neighborhood.

L.1978, c. 95, s. 2C:33-2, eff. Sept. 1, 1979.

AKA: NJ Criminal Charge 2C:33-2, Violation 2C:33-2, Offense 2C:33-2

Disclaimer: A copy of this statute has been provided for your information. This wording was current from the NJ website lis.njleg.state.nj.us as of August 2012.

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