What Is a Disorderly Persons Offense?
New Jersey classifies lower level crimes as disorderly persons offenses. This charge is less serious than a felony, but a conviction can still carry serious penalties, including jail time and heavy fines. These are generally summary offenses, which means a person can be tried without facing a jury. By contrast, an indictable offense means a person must first be tried on an indictment after a preliminary hearing to determine whether there is a prima facie case to answer or by a grand jury.
Examples of disorderly persons offenses include:
- Simple Assault
- Possession of Less than 50 Grams of Marijuana
- Drug Paraphernalia
- Shoplifting (less than $200)
- Disorderly Conduct
- Resisting Arrest
- Bad Checks
What is the Difference Between a Misdemeanor and Disorderly Persons Offense?
They are the same thing. What most states call misdemeanors are called disorderly persons offenses in New Jersey.
What is the Difference Between a Petty Disorderly Persons Offense and a Disorderly Persons Offense?
Petty disorderly persons offenses are less serious than other disorderly persons offense. As such, they carry less jail time and smaller fines (see below).
What Are the Penalties for Disorderly Persons and Petty Disorderly Persons Offenses?
A conviction for a disorderly persons offense can result in a fine of up to $1,000 and up to six months in jail. In some cases, a judge can suspend or revoke driving privileges for up to two years even if the crime was not traffic or driving-related.
For petty disorderly persons cases, the maximum fine imposed can be $500 and up to 30 days in jail.
Read more on New Jersey Sentencing Guidelines.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Should I Do If I am Charged with a Disorderly Persons Offense in NJ?
The best course of action for any individual facing a disorderly persons charge in New Jersey is to get legal representation. A skilled criminal defense attorney can assess the charge(s) and evidence to determine the best possible defense. An experienced attorney will know how to avoid or mitigate the risk of jail, fines, and other long-term consequences that can come with a conviction.
If you or someone you love is being charged with a disorderly persons offense in New Jersey, contact Rosenblum Law right away. Our team of skilled criminal defense attorneys have extensive experience helping people in similar situations. Email Rosenblum Law or call 888-815-3649 today for a free consultation about your case.