Some criminal conduct is considered less serious than other crimes – getting drunk and rowdy following a sporting event, being caught with a small amount of pot or paying with items with a bad check.
A disorderly conduct charge under N.J.S.A. 2C:33-2 of the New Jersey criminal code is a serious offense that addresses street behavior and other conduct in a public place that may disturb people and disrupt the peace. It can be charged for disruptive, obnoxious and potentially dangerous street behavior and is used by law enforcement to break up potentially violent street encounters or halt alarming behavior caused by intoxicated, volatile, angry, and/or out of control people.
Two types of behavior can result in a charge of disorderly conduct – both of which can give you a criminal record. They are as follows:
Improper behavior wherein a person is guilty of a petty disorderly persons offense if, with purpose to cause public inconvenience, annoyance or alarm, (or recklessly creating a risk thereof) the actor engages in violent, threatening or tumultuous fighting OR creates a condition that may be considered hazardous or physically dangerous.
Offensive language wherein a person is guilty of a petty disorderly persons offense if the actor uses unreasonably loud, offensive, course of abusive language in a public setting with reckless disregard to offending the sensitivities of others present.
A conviction for disorderly conduct will result in a criminal record that cannot be expunged until five years after the completion of your sentence which can include fines and fees in excess of $1000, mandatory counseling or anger management, restitution, community service and even short periods of incarceration. I can lead to termination of employment for state workers, doctors, nurses, attorneys, pharmacists and/or stockbrokers.
If you have been charged with disorderly conduct, you should seek the advice of a knowledgeable, criminal defense attorney who has had years of experience representing defendants in the Municipal Court system. As a Municipal Court Attorney, Gwendolyn O. Austin has often successfully downgraded disorderly conduct charges to violations of municipal or township ordinances. As a result, her clients often end up with modest fines, no incarceration and the potential for expungement in two years.
Contact Attorney Austin at (973) 735-2706 or on line to schedule your free, confidential consultation.