Can a Disorderly Conduct Charge be Dropped?
Facing a New Jersey criminal charge and even lesser charges for technically quasi-criminal offenses like disorderly conduct, can place your job and well-being at serious risk. This is particularly true if you hold any professional licenses, are applying for college or graduate school, work in a sensitive field like law enforcement or banking, or otherwise have a significant personal or professional reputation to uphold. You can suffer adverse consequences in each of these circumstances, whether you face criminal charges for offenses like assault, disorderly conduct, or resisting arrest. Fortunately, there are ways to get disorderly conduct and often associated dropped. If you have been charged with disorderly conduct, resisting arrest, simple assault, or any other offense in New Jersey, you should seek legal counsel and find out which options may be available to you. For answers to your specific questions regarding a disorderly conduct case in NJ, contact a Hudson County criminal defense attorney at our firm at (201) 793-8018 or request a free consultation online today.
Can You Get Disorderly Conduct Dismissed in New Jersey?
Disorderly conduct is a relatively low-level criminal offense in New Jersey. It falls under a broader category known as “petty disorderly persons” offenses (compared to more serious, full-fledged “disorderly persons” offenses. Notice, disorderly persons offense is not to be confused with the similar-sounding term “disorderly conduct,” which is a separate, specific offense. Although disorderly conduct is already a fairly minor charge with significantly reduced consequences in comparison often related charges like assault or resisting arrest, it is possible for a skilled and experienced criminal defense attorney to convince a prosecutor to reduce your disorderly conduct charge even further or to get the case dismissed entirely.
Ways to Get a Disorderly Conduct Charges Dropped in NJ
Our defense attorneys are often able to negotiate the reduction of a disorderly conduct charge to a municipal ordinance violation, an even less severe category of offense. This allows you to avoid having a criminal conviction on your permanent record and typically involves lower fines and other penalties. Furthermore, if we identify favorable evidence showing that you did not actually engage in behavior that amounts to disorderly conduct, you may even see the charges against you dropped entirely. For instance, perhaps you didn’t cause the fight or disturbance that resulted in your charges for disorderly conduct, or you conduct does not meet the requirements under the statute (NJSA 2c:33-2). Even if we are not able to get the charges pending against you dropped entirely, we may still be able to argue for a favorable plea deal, in which case you may receive reduced punishment in exchange for pleading guilty to a disorderly conduct charge or municipal ordinance violation. This largely depends on the specific facts of your case.
What Affects the Outcome of a NJ Disorderly Conduct Case?
There are several factors that can influence whether your charge is dropped, downgraded, or otherwise dismissed through an alternative like a carry order. A carry order is essentially an agreement whereby the person charged can undergo counseling and avoid being arrested for a period, after which the charges are dismissed. First, the facts of your case are critically important. For instance, if you struck a police officer during or after a bar fight, or otherwise resisted arrest, your case is less likely to get favorable treatment than if you simply got drunk and swore at other bar patrons until the bartender called the police to remove you. Second, the skill of your lawyer plays a critical role in obtaining a favorable outcome.
Experienced attorneys can often marshal the positive facts of your case more persuasively for a prosecutor than attorneys who are less familiar with defending disorderly conduct and its common companion charges. Third, whether you have been charged with related crimes like simple assault, aggravated assault on a police officer, resisting arrest, or hindering apprehension, can have an impact on whether the prosecutor is more or less likely to drop the disorderly conduct charge pending against you. You should speak with a criminal defense lawyer who to learn more about your options for a favorable resolution based on the facts of your case.
Facing Multiple Charges with Disorderly Conduct
Disorderly conduct often involves causing a commotion, swearing at others, or starting or participating in a fight. These activities can almost all be charged as separate and more serious criminal offenses like assault, terroristic threats, resisting arrest, and perhaps worst of all, even aggravated assault (a serious felony in New Jersey). Although the doctrine of “merger,” holds that you should not be penalized or charged with two crimes based on identical conduct and provides you with some protection from facing multiple charges based on the exact same conduct, nothing prevents you from being charged with multiple crimes if you engaged in multiple separate criminal acts. For example, causing one particular fight and striking one particular person may be charged as disorderly conduct or simple assault. However, causing a bar fight and later pushing a bouncer who tried to break it up, then resisting the police officer who tried to take you into custody, can lead to a host of separate charges.
What to do When Charged with Disorderly Conduct in New Jersey
Whether you have been charged with just one offense like disorderly conduct, or have been arrested for a more serious crime like assault, we can help. Our team of dedicated criminal defense lawyers have been defending clients in Hudson County and throughout New Jersey for years. We appear in local courts every day and we are prepared to handle any of the charges against you, to protect your record and reduce your exposure to fines and jail time. Call (201) 793-8018 for more information or contact us online today. Consultations are free and someone on our team is available now to assist you.