Disorderly Conduct Attorneys in Hoboken, New Jersey
Disorderly conduct is a common offense that is frequently charged in “party towns” such as Hoboken and Jersey City that are know for their bars on every corner and large populations of young professionals. This is because these charges are almost always alcohol-related from fighting, yelling on the street, or public intoxication. If you are convicted of disorderly conduct in New Jersey, it will result in a permanent criminal record, community service, probation and even jail time. For obvious reasons this can have a huge impact on your life and present or future employment. At Proetta & Oliver, our criminal defense lawyers represent clients charged with disorderly conduct throughout Hudson County, New Jersey including in Weehawken, Secaucus, North Bergen, Kearny, Bayonne, West New York, and Harrison. Our attorneys have successfully defended clients against thousands of criminal and municipal court charges including disorderly conduct. We are typically able to get our clients disorderly conduct charges dismissed or downgraded, as a means by which to avoid a criminal conviction. If you would like to learn more about how we can help you, then contact our Jersey City office at (201) 793-8018 for a free initial consultation.
N.J.S.A. 2C:33-2: New Jersey Disorderly Conduct Law
The Disorderly Conduct law is an intentionally designed to be a broad sweeping statute that includes a wide range of conduct. The New Jersey statute 2C:33-2 is provided below in pertinent part for your reading convenience: a. Improper behavior. A person is guilty of a petty disorderly persons offense, if with purpose to cause public inconvenience, annoyance or alarm, or recklessly create a risk thereof he or she: (1) Engages in fighting or threatening, or in violent or tumultuous behavior; or (2) Creates a hazardous or physically dangerous condition by any act which serves no legitimate purpose of the actor. b. Offensive language. A person is guilty of a petty disorderly persons offense if, in a public place, and with purpose to offend the sensibilities of a hearer or in reckless disregard of the probability of doing so, he addresses unreasonably loud and offensively coarse or abusive language, given the circumstances of the person present and the setting of the utterance, to any person present.
Disorderly Conduct: A Petty Disorderly Persons Offense in NJ
In New Jersey, disorderly conduct is considered a petty disorderly persons offense, also known as a petty misdemeanor. Although it does not technically constitute a “crime,” it is still considered a criminal offense under New Jersey law. If convicted of disorderly conduct, you have exposure to up to 30 days in county jail and a maximum fine of $500, in addition to other court costs and fees. You will also have a conviction on your criminal record, which is not eligible for expungement for at least five years. In other words, the term “petty” can be misleading.
Often, criminal charges for disorderly conduct are confused with municipal ordinance violations. This is an important distinction because each municipality in New Jersey has the authority to enact ordinances governing certain conduct within their jurisdictions. Although a municipal ordinance violation may require you to appear in Municipal Court, it is not a criminal offense, but rather a “ticket” for a violation of one of the rules in the municipal code. For example, Hoboken police may issue an ordinance for Disturbing the Peace in violation of § 145-1 [Amended 2-16-2011 by Ord. No. Z-84] in the Hoboken Administrative Code. According to this section, “No person shall make or assist in making any improper noise, riot, disturbance or breach of the peace in the streets or elsewhere within the City, and no persons shall collect in bodies or crowds for idle or unlawful purposes to the annoyance or disturbance of citizens or travelers.”
You may notice the similarity between Hoboken’s Disturbing the Peace ordinance and N.J.S.A. 2C:33-2, which governs Disorderly Conduct Criminal Offenses in New Jersey. Although disorderly conduct crimes and ordinances appear similar, the legal distinction is extremely significant. Our experienced criminal defense attorneys often seek to have a criminal charge for disorderly conduct downgraded to a municipal ordinance violation, which results in no criminal conviction on our client’s record.
Jersey City Disorderly Conduct Defense Lawyers
As mentioned above, the disorderly conduct statute is overly broad, providing the state prosecution with a big advantage over an inexperienced defendant. Simply put, all they need to prove to show you are guilty of disorderly conduct is that you caused annoyance, public inconvenience or alarm – either by your physical acts or words. Because of the nature of the crime, disorderly conduct is often charged along with other crimes such as Simple Assault, Trespassing, Harassment, Resisting Arrest, or Criminal Mischief. At Proetta & Oliver, we take our client’s cases very seriously and if you hire our firm, you should feel very confident that you will be represented by experienced criminal defense attorneys who know the court system. If you would like to speak with a New Jersey disorderly conduct lawyer during an initial consultation contact our Jersey City office at (201) 793-8018. We are available 24/7.
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