Disorderly Conduct Defense Lawyers in Union City, New Jersey
Union City is bustling with record growth. Whether you are drawn to this city in Hudson County, New Jersey for the stores and restaurants along Bergenline Avenue or to the numerous art exhibits, Union City is an attraction for both residents and visitors alike. Between the 80,000 permanent residents and the added population of visitors, the police department is tasked with maintaining a semblance of order through the issuance of traffic tickets and criminal charges. Disorderly conduct is a common catchall charge that plagues residents and passersby alike in Union City, NJ. Although common, a disorderly conduct charge here will require your appearance in Union City Municipal Court and expose you to the possibility of jail, among other serious consequences. Before going to court it is important to understand the offense, know your rights, and seek personalized guidance from an experienced Union City criminal defense attorney. Call (201) 793-8018 to discuss your case and get answers to all of your pressing questions now. Our local lawyers are available around the clock to provide you with a free and confidential consultation.
What is Disorderly Conduct in Union City NJ?
Disorderly conduct is a specific law that allows for persons displaying certain behaviors in public to be charged with a criminal offense. It does not take much to be charged with the offense of disorderly conduct in Union City or anywhere else in Hudson County for that matter. In fact, New Jersey makes it an offense to engage in “improper behavior” or to use “offensive language” in public, both of which can lead to disorderly conduct charges in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:33-2.
Union City Improper Behavior Offense
Specifically, a person can be found guilty of a petty disorderly persons offense of disorderly conduct if it is proven that he or she engaged in improper behavior. Under New Jersey law, improper behavior can be found when a person purposely causes “public inconvenience, annoyance or alarm” or recklessly creates a risk of inconvenience, annoyance or alarm by:
1) Engaging in fighting or threatening, or in violent or tumultuous behavior; or
2) Creating a hazardous or physically dangerous condition by any act which serves no legitimate purpose
There are countless scenarios in which seemingly innocuous behavior turns into an offense when the police become involved. So many times people leave a bar or restaurant after meeting with friends for a few drinks and a fun night turns into a nightmare. Upon leaving the location, someone may get loud and perhaps an argument ensues. The argument sometimes leads to an altercation and if it is viewed by police or an onlooker, the small interaction can turn into a disorderly conduct offense. Even if there is no altercation involved, you can be charged with disorderly conduct for creating a “physically dangerous situation.” Almost any behavior can be classified as creating a risk of public inconvenience or alarm. For this reason, disorderly conduct is a frequent fallback offense for police. If they cannot find something else to charge you with, you will likely be charged with disorderly conduct.
Using Offensive or Course Language in Union City
Even if you do not engage in the above, you can be charged with a petty disorderly persons offense for disorderly conduct if you use offensive language in public. A person can be charged with violating NJSA 2C:33-2 if he or she is in public and intends to offend the sensibilities of the listener, or risks that the person will be offended, and disregards the risk. The State must prove that you were loud and used “offensively coarse or abusive language, given the circumstances of the person present and the setting of the utterance, to any person present.”
If you think about it, disorderly conduct occurs on a daily basis all around you. People are on their phones, walking down the street while talking and cursing to the person on the other end. If someone is offended by the language that you used in a public place or you get into a heated argument during a sporting event, at a bar, or elsewhere, police may file a complaint against you for disorderly conduct. Of course this does not happen all the time, but according to the law, you can be charged with a criminal offense carrying serious penalties.
Disorderly Conduct Must Occur in Public Places in Union City, NJ
Notably, the alleged disorderly conduct must occur in public. The provision of being in public precludes you from being charged with disorderly conduct in your private residence or another private place that is not open to others. Accordingly, you can be charged in “public” if the offense takes place or impacts those near “highways, transport facilities, schools, prisons, apartment houses, places of business or amusement, or any neighborhood.”
Punishments for a Union City Disorderly Conduct Charge
If convicted of disorderly conduct in Union City, you face consequences that can negatively impact your life in many ways. Disorderly conduct, a petty disorderly persons offense, is punishable by 30 days in the Hudson County Jail. Additionally, you may be forced to pay a fine up to $500, pay court costs and fees, and even be subject to anger management counseling. Failing to pay the fines can lead to suspension of your driver’s license. While this offense is not a felony charge, it will be on your criminal record if convicted, a situation that can quickly become a huge problem long-term.
Get an Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer for Your Union City NJ Disorderly Conduct Case
If you have been charged with disorderly conduct, you will be given a notice to go to Union City Municipal Court located at 3715 Palisade Avenue, Union City New Jersey. You have the right to retain an attorney to fight the charges. Seek representation when facing disorderly conduct charges and position yourself for the best results. Our office has extensive experience dealing with disorderly conduct charges lodged by Union City Police and we can help. Call (201) 793-8018 for a free consultation or contact us online today to learn more.