What Happens if You Are Charged with Disorderly Conduct Under N.J.S.A. 2C:33-2?

A person can be charged with disorderly conduct in New Jersey under N.J.S.A. §2C:33-2 for fighting, using obscene language, or otherwise creating a disturbance in a public place.  Disorderly conduct charges can result in fines, incarceration, probation, community service, and other serious penalties.  A conviction will also burden the defendant with a criminal record, which can place obstacles in the way of employment and career opportunities.

If you or one of your family members was arrested for disorderly conduct in Atlantic City or the surrounding area, you need a tough and experienced criminal defense attorney to defend your rights and fight the charges.  Turn to the Law Offices of John J. Zarych for aggressive legal representation in southern New Jersey.

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At the Law Offices of John J. Zarych, our highly knowledgeable team of Atlantic City criminal attorneys brings nearly half a century of legal experience to every case we handle.  Our New Jersey disorderly conduct lawyers have handled numerous cases of this type and are often successful in having defendants’ charges reduced or dismissed.  There is a range of defenses which can be employed when fighting a disorderly conduct charge in New Jersey’s Municipal Courts.

It’s critically important to start reviewing your legal options as soon as possible.  An early start will help improve your chances of defeating the charges and getting back to your normal life.  Call our New Jersey defense lawyers right away at (609) 616-4956 for a free legal consultation.  We will keep your information confidential.

We represent defendants who were arrested in Atlantic City, Egg Harbor Township, Ocean City, Wildwood, Dennis Township, Hamilton Township, Galloway Township, and other communities throughout Atlantic County and Cape May County.

Will a Conviction Result in a Criminal Record?

Most states describe minor criminal offenses as misdemeanors, while more serious crimes like rape and murder are felonies.  In New Jersey, this system works a little differently.  Instead of being called misdemeanors, minor offenses in New Jersey are split into two groups: disorderly persons (DP) offenses, and petty DP offenses.  Petty DP offenses are less serious than DP offenses.

Unlike felonies, which New Jersey calls indictable crimes, neither DP nor petty DP offenses are technically crimes.  Instead, they are categorized as “offenses.” This distinction is rooted in N.J.S.A. § 2C:1-4, which states, “Disorderly persons offenses and petty disorderly persons offenses are petty offenses and are not crimes within the meaning of the Constitution of this State.”

Needless to say, this has some advantages for the defendant.  While the defendant will not have the right to a grand jury, he or she will be able to avoid “any disability or legal disadvantage based on conviction of a [felony] crime.”

However, this does not mean defendants should take the charges lightly.  On the contrary, it is vital to aggressively dispute the allegations with help from an Atlantic City disorderly conduct defense attorney.  Despite their non-criminal classification, DP offenses and petty DP offenses can still result in fines, incarceration, and the creation of a criminal record, much like a felony or indictable crime.  Furthermore, a conviction can have some long-term negative repercussions, including:

  • The risk of losing your job, particularly if you work for the government or are in a medical profession.
  • Increased difficulty obtaining visas and/or professional certifications.
  • Potential sentencing enhancements if you’re ever charged with a crime in the future.

Due to these and other serious consequences — as well as the fines and incarceration which can also result from a conviction — it’s important to make sure that you are being represented by a skilled attorney with experience handling disorderly conduct charges in New Jersey.  It may be possible to the charges reduced to a municipal ordinance violation, or to have your case dismissed altogether.

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NJ Penalties for a Petty Disorderly Persons (DP) Offense: Fines and Jail

Disorderly conduct is classified as a petty disorderly persons offense.  The penalties for a petty disorderly persons offense in New Jersey may include:

  • Fine — Up to $500
  • Sentencing — Up to 30 days in jail

Depending on the defendant’s criminal history, the details of the disorderly conduct offense, and other factors, the defendant may be subject to additional or alternative penalties, including:

  • Community Service
  • Counseling/Anger Management
  • Probation

The defendant may also be ordered to pay additional fines, such as:

  • Court Fees
  • Safe Neighborhood Services Fund (SNSF) Fine — $75
  • Victim Restitution
  • Victims of Crime Compensation Board (VCCB) Fine — $50

A conviction of disorderly conduct can cost you more than just money — it can also cost your job and even your freedom.  You need to act quickly to begin planning your defense strategy.  Call the Law Offices of John J. Zarych right away at (609) 616-4956 to set up a free and confidential legal consultation regarding your charges.

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