Located at 1 Borgata Way, the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa has earned a reputation as one of Atlantic City’s most luxurious and profitable casinos. It’s also one of the largest, boasting more than 2,000 hotel rooms, 50 poker tables, 180 game tables, and 4,000 slot machines. When patrons need a break from blackjack, they can choose between more than a dozen bars and restaurants, relax in the spa, spend their winnings at the Borgata Shops, or settle in for comedy and entertainment at the Borgata Event Center. But while visiting the Borgata usually makes for a great time, it also has the potential to end in an arrest.
In many cases, these arrests involve offenses like theft, disorderly conduct, trespassing, assault, check fraud, and pulling false fire alarms. Some of these offenses are misdemeanors, while others are extremely serious felonies; but in either situation, the results of a conviction can include fines, incarceration, probation, community service, driver’s license suspension, the creation of a criminal record, and other negative consequences.
If you were arrested at the Borgata in Atlantic City, you need a knowledgeable, aggressive defense attorney who can fight the charges and protect your Constitutional liberties. At the Law Offices of John J. Zarych, our bilingual legal team brings over 45 years of experience to all casino crimes we handle. We serve all areas of Atlantic City, including but not limited to Chelsea Heights, Bungalow Park, Ducktown, the Inlet, Venice Park, and the Marina District. To set up a free and private consultation, call us right away at (609) 625-3006.
Disorderly Persons vs. Indictable Offenses: Understanding Criminal Penalties in NJ
Most states use the words “misdemeanor” and “felony” when describing criminal offenses. As part of New Jersey, Atlantic City has adopted different terminology. Misdemeanors are classified as either “disorderly persons offenses” (“DP offenses”) or “petty disorderly persons offenses” (“petty DP offenses”), the latter being less serious. Felonies are known as “indictable crimes” or simply “crimes,” which can lead to confusion for individuals who are unfamiliar with the New Jersey justice system’s linguistic peculiarities.
Neither DP offenses nor petty DP offenses are crimes, but are instead classified as offenses, just as their name describes. Unfortunately, this distinction does little to aid defendants from a practical standpoint, as a DP conviction will nonetheless result in the creation of a criminal record, just as an indictable crime would.
Cases which involve DP offenses and petty DP offenses are heard in the state’s municipal courts, while indictable offenses are heard in Superior Court. In contrast to indictable crimes, defendants charged with DP offenses do not have the right to a grand jury. Instead, the judge assumes the jury’s function.
While both will create a criminal record, crimes carry harsher penalties than DP offenses. Unlike DP and petty DP offenses, crimes are divided into different categories by degree. The lower the degree, the more serious the crime. The maximum New Jersey penalties for crimes and offenses are listed below, though enhanced penalties are a possibility in certain situations:
Petty DP Offense Fine – $500 Sentence – 30 days
DP Offense Fine – $1,000 Sentence – 6 months
Fourth Degree Crime Fine – $10,000 Sentence – 18 months
Third Degree Crime Fine – $15,000 Sentence – 5 years
Second Degree Crime Fine – $150,000 Sentence – 10 years
First Degree Crime Fine – $200,000 Sentence – 20 years
Common Casino Crimes: Writing Bad Checks, Pulling Fire Alarms, Disorderly Conduct
Most people feel uncomfortable carrying large amounts of cash when they visit casinos, which makes checks a smart alternative. However, if a person intentionally writes a bad check despite knowing it will bounce, he or she has just committed check fraud. Check fraud is governed by N.J.S.A. § 2C:21-5, under which it may be graded as a crime or a DP offense depending on the check or money order’s value, as described below:
DP Offense – Value under $200
Fourth Degree Crime – Value of at least $200, but less than $1,000
Third Degree Crime – Value of at least $1,000, but less than $75,000
Second Degree Crime – Value of $75,000 or more
Disorderly conduct is another common offense, not only in gambling establishments but in many types of public settings, largely due to the fact that the grounds for the charge are so broad. Under N.J.S.A. § 2C:33-2, disorderly conduct may be charged when a person engages in any of the following, either “with purpose to cause public inconvenience, annoyance or alarm,” or “recklessly creating a risk thereof”:
Fighting, making threats, or other “violent or tumultuous” acts/behaviors.
Creating a hazard or dangerous condition without any legitimate purpose.
Using “unreasonably loud and offensively coarse or abusive language” in public, “with purpose to offend the sensibilities of a hearer.” This means having a heated verbal argument with a bouncer or croupier is enough to be charged with disorderly conduct.
Disorderly conduct is a petty DP offense.
Pulling fire alarms when no emergency exists is another example of a common casino crime. While it might have been intended as a harmless prank, the consequences can be extremely serious. Under N.J.S.A. § 2C:33-3, which broadly addresses all types of false public alarms (including frivolous 9-1-1 calls), “A person is guilty of a crime of the third degree if he knowingly causes such false alarm to be transmitted to or within any organization, official or volunteer, for dealing with emergencies involving danger to life or property.” In some situations, crimes involving false public alarms can be graded as second or even first degree crimes.
If you were charged with a crime at the Borgata, it’s critically important to seek legal counsel immediately. To arrange for a private, free legal consultation with our experienced casino crime lawyers, call the Law Offices of John J. Zarych at (609) 625-3006 today. You will not be charged any fees, and we will keep your information confidential. Se habla español.