Disorderly conduct is a low-level criminal offense compared to many of the other offenses people commit in casinos. However, it is also one of the most common casino crimes. It is difficult to classify exactly what conduct constitutes an offense under the disorderly conduct statute, and so it is often applied broadly to a wide range of conduct.
If you or a loved one was arrested for disorderly conduct in an Atlantic City casino, call the Law Offices of John J. Zarych today. Our Atlantic City disorderly conduct in a casino attorneys represent the accused and work to get charges dropped and dismissed. To schedule a free legal consultation on your case, contact our law offices today at (609) 616-4956.
When Can I Be Arrested for Disorderly Conduct in a Casino?
Disorderly conduct is a broad offense that covers a wide range of conduct. Before discussing the many actions or interactions in a casino could amount to disorderly conduct, we must first discuss what exactly constitutes disorderly conduct in New Jersey.
N.J.S.A. § 2C:33-2 makes it illegal to engage in certain “[i]mproper behavior” or to use “[o]ffensive language” under certain circumstances. The improper behavior can either be engaging in a fight or creating “a hazardous or physically dangerous condition by an act which serves no legitimate purpose.”
Engaging in fighting is quite clear and includes both starting a fight or fighting back. This could also be charged as assault, potentially meaning you could face multiple charges. A “dangerous condition by an act which serves no legitimate purpose” is much broader and can include many types of distractions or dangers. Things like running across the casino floor, jumping on a table, or other dangerous acts could all constitute an unreasonable danger leading to disorderly conduct charges.
Offenses based on offensive language only apply in a public place where the language is used to “offend the sensibilities of a hearer” and must be “unreasonably loud and offensively coarse or abusive.” Things like swearing at casino staff, screaming at security, and other instances of outbursts or angry behavior could constitute an offense under this subsection of the statute.
If you do commit one of these offenses, you are unlikely to be arrested unless the offense is severe. In most cases, casino security will make you leave the casino. If you comply, there should be no need for an arrest. However, if police respond to your behavior or casino security calls the police, it is likely that you will face charges.
Many of these charges occur when defendants are drunk. There is no “public drunkenness” statute in New Jersey, and disorderly conduct is often used to charge defendants in situations where a patron is drunk or unruly. Casino staff and security often refer these cases to police, since the drunk patron could be a danger to themselves and others.
Penalties for Disorderly Conduct at a Casino in AC
The penalties for disorderly conduct in an Atlantic City casino can include both official legal consequences and informal consequences at the casino. The first thing that will often happen as a form of punishment is that the casino will often kick you our or ban you from the premises. It is important to follow any orders regarding bans since casinos are private property. Returning after you have been kicked out of a casino could lead to trespassing charges.
Official legal consequences often include a fine only, but a judge can order jail time for disorderly conduct. If you are arrested for any type of disorderly conduct, you could face formal charges for a “petty disorderly persons” offense. These offenses are the lowest level of criminal offense in New Jersey, similar to an infraction or summary offense in other states.
Typically, disorderly persons offenses are approximately equal to misdemeanors in other states and carry a potential fine of up to $1,000 and up to 6 months in jail. Petty disorderly persons offenses are a reduced form of this offense, and the fine is capped at $500 max. While jail time is still available as a potential punishment, judges rarely order more than 30 days in jail.
The penalties for disorderly conduct can go on your criminal record, potentially hurting your chances of getting certain jobs, education opportunities, or loans. In many cases, these charges can be expunged after a waiting period, but there may be opportunities to complete community service and perform counseling to get these charges dropped. The counseling involved often goes to the heart of the issue you faced and could include treatment for alcohol abuse, gambling addiction, anger management, or other related issues.
Contact Our Atlantic City Casino Disorderly Conduct Attorneys Today for a Free Consultation
If you, your child, or someone else you know was arrested for disorderly conduct in an Atlantic City casino, call the Law Offices of John J. Zarych today. Our attorneys offer free legal consultations on disorderly conduct charges and other casino crimes. For help with your case, contact our Atlantic City casino disorderly conduct defense lawyers today at (609) 616-4956.