Disorderly Persons Offenses in New Jersey–An Overview

What Is a Disorderly Persons Offense? What Are Your Rights? What Are the Potential Penalties?

Disorderly Persons Offenses in New Jersey--An OverviewIf you’ve never been involved with the criminal justice system in the state of New Jersey, you can be a bit confused by the terminology, should you be subject to prosecution. Unlike other states, which typically categorize crimes as misdemeanors or felonies, New Jersey uses the terms “disorderly persons offenses” and “indictable offenses.” Indictable offenses are comparable to felonies in other states, more serious in nature. They are prosecuted in the district courts and require an “indictment” issued by a grand jury. Defendants in these cases also have a right to trial by jury. Disorderly persons offenses, on the other hand, are treated very differently.

What Is a Disorderly Persons Offense?

A disorderly persons offense in New Jersey is similar to a misdemeanor in most other states. It’s typically a lesser offense, with maximum penalties of less than six months of incarceration and minimal fines. Unlike indictable offenses, disorderly persons offenses are heard in municipal court. Furthermore, because they are not technically considered to be crimes, the defendant in a disorderly persons case has no right to trial by jury. Under the provisions of the United States Constitution, though, a defendant always has the right to counsel.

Are There Different Types of Disorderly Persons Offenses?

Yes. New Jersey law provides for both disorderly persons offenses and petty disorderly persons offenses. For petty disorderly persons offenses, the maximum jail term ins 30 days and the maximum fine is $500. A person convicted of a disorderly persons offense can be sentenced to 180 days in jail and as much as $1,000 in fines.

What Are the Common Types of Disorderly Persons Offenses in New Jersey?

The offenses most often brought in municipal court include:

  • Simple assault
  • Disorderly conduct
  • Possession of certain drug paraphernalia
  • Stalking or harassment
  • Public lewdness
  • Resisting arrest
  • Uttering and publishing (writing bad checks)
  • Shoplifting (theft of good with a value of less than $200)

Contact Attorney Matthew V. Markosian to Protect Your Constitutional Rights

To set up an appointment with attorney Matthew V. Markosian, call us at 609-455-2090 or contact our office by email. Evening and weekend appointments can be scheduled, upon request. Your first consultation is without cost or obligation. Because of our experience and reputation, most of our new cases come to us as referrals from other attorneys, or from former clients.

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