You set out to have a fun night on the town in Atlantic City. You expected to simply blow off some steam at one of Atlantic City’s many casinos. You arrive and start gambling at table games before you hit a luck streak and before you know it, all eyes are on you. The dealer encourages you to keep playing and drinks seem to appear by your side exactly when you need them. You think to yourself, “This is the life.”
But, that hot streak ends and you and your friends are upset. Then, one of your buddies thinks he notices the dealer taking cards out of the deck improperly. Video surveillance would later show that your friend was mistaken, but in the heat of the moment the accusation leads to a heated argument and tempers flare. Eyes are all on you and your crew again, but this time it’s to witness the law enforcement officers closing in behind you. You feel your arms pulled behind you back in one swift motion and you are cuffed and placed under arrest. In the matter of a few minutes you went from having the night of your life to facing criminal charges simply due to a misunderstanding.
What Charges Can Lead to a Disorderly Persons Conviction in New Jersey?
As described above, any type of aggressive conduct including a strong verbal disagreement, or a physical altercation can lead to a disorderly persons charge. Disorderly conduct charges are typically filed for crimes that place the public at risk or create public nuisance, inconvenience, or annoyance. Alcohol is often a factor in arrests for allegedly disorderly conduct. Acts that lead to a disorderly persons charge can include:
- Use of offense language in certain settings
- Gambling while underage
- Loud or abusive conduct in public
- Shoplifting and petty theft
- Theft of items worth less than $200
- Possession of small amounts of marijuana (less than 50 grams)
- Possession of drug paraphernalia like pipes, bongs, or rolling papers
- Simple assault
While there are other crimes that can result in a disorderly persons conviction, the above likely represents the most commonplace reasons. However, by and large, verbal and physical altercations often fueled by alcohol are probably the most prevalent reason as to why disorderly persons charges would arise in an Atlantic City casino. A disorderly persons charge can result in criminal penalties including fines and a jail sentence. Unfortunately, those consequences only account for the formal costs of a criminal conviction.
A Disorderly Persons Conviction Is a Criminal Conviction
Some people are of the mind that a conviction for a disorderly persons offense isn’t a big deal. While it is true that the conviction does not carry penalties as harsh as those that can be imposed for an indictable offense, New Jersey’s equivalent to a felony, the penalties are still serious.
Furthermore, simply because you are subject to less time in jail doesn’t make a matter trivial. This is largely because a conviction for a disorderly persons offense will appear on your record. Furthermore, the record of your conviction will remain public for a number of years unless the record is eligible for expunction and is actually expunged.
In today’s world employers are increasingly risk adverse. Whereas in the past one might expect a background check for only higher-end positions, in today’s world most major employers conduct background checks for all job placements. Even young people just looking to start their career in an entry-level position can expect to face this level of scrutiny. For many individuals with criminal conviction, the conviction can act as a bar to advancement, prevent young people from becoming established in their chosen field, and can lead to recidivism and further criminal charges. For some, stopping a cycle of criminality before it starts begins with a full land aggressive defense in a court of law.
Facing a Disorderly Persons Charge in Atlantic City?
If you are facing a disorderly persons charge due to an argument or a fight in a casino or for other reasons the experienced criminal defense attorneys of The Law Offices of John J. Zarych can fight for you. To schedule a private, free initial consultation call 800-508-9786 or contact us to day. We have law offices in Cape May, Atlantic City, Northfield, and Wildwood.