NJ Disorderly Persons Defense Attorney
In New Jersey, violations of law that are equivalent to misdemeanors are referred to as “disorderly persons offenses.” Disorderly persons offenses are not considered to be “crimes” and are not handled in criminal court, but instead are handled by municipal courts. For these reasons, many people charged with disorderly persons offenses may not take their charges as seriously as they should.
However, while these offenses are generally considered to be less serious than indictable offenses (felonies), they can still have a significant effect on your life. Municipal prosecutors and courts take their role in convicting and sentencing disorderly persons offenders very seriously and expect anyone in the courtroom to abide by strict procedures. Therefore, failing to hire an experienced disorderly persons defense attorney to handle your case can be a big mistake.
New Jersey criminal defense attorney Kurt Resch has been handling cases in both municipal courts and criminal courts for 35 years. He is thoroughly familiar with the rules and procedures of municipal courts in Passaic County, Hudson County, Bergen County, and throughout NJ. Because of this extensive experience and dedication in protecting the rights of individuals in New Jersey, you should not hesitate to call the Law Offices of Kurt M. Resch, P.C. for help today.
Types of Disorderly Persons Offenses
Charges heard in municipal courts are divided into two categories–petty disorderly persons offenses and disorderly persons offenses. Petty offenses include charges such as harassment and disorderly conduct and, while called “petty,” can still have many consequences. Some examples of disorderly persons offenses can include the following:
- Theft or shoplifting involving less than $200 of property
- Possession of smaller amounts (less than 50 grams) of marijuana
- Simple assault
- Resisting arrest
Disorderly Persons Offense Consequences
While municipal court proceedings may seem less intimidating than criminal court proceedings, judges in municipal court have the authority to issue serious sentences for disorderly persons offenses. Some common penalties may include:
- Petty disorderly persons offense — $500 fine and up to 30 days of jail time
- Disorderly persons offense — $1,000 fine and up to six months of jail time
Even thirty days of jail time can significantly disrupt your life as you can lose your job or fall behind in school. If you receive a probation sentence, you may also lose a significant amount of freedom as you must adhere to strict conditions set out by a probation officer.
In addition, if you have a disorderly persons offense conviction and receive another charge for the same offense, your subsequent charge may be escalated to an indictable crime (felony) due to prior convictions. For these reasons and more, convictions can follow you for many years and it is always preferable to never have a conviction on your record if possible.
Disorderly Persons Defense
Fortunately, there are numerous ways that skilled New Jersey representation can help you avoid many penalties associated with a disorderly persons offense charge. For example, an attorney can have evidence kept out of court if it was obtained in violation of your 4th Amendment rights. A skilled lawyer will also know how to negotiate with municipal prosecutors and judges to have your charges and/or penalties reduced. If you choose to go to trial, a lawyer who understands municipal court procedures can skillfully represent your interests and protect your rights in the courtroom.
In addition, if you already have a disorderly persons conviction on your criminal record, you may have encountered serious issues with your job, professional license, immigration status, or with your educational institution. Luckily, it may be possible to expunge your conviction and clear your criminal record and your name. Many disorderly persons offenses are eligible for expungement, however, there are criteria that must be met to do so. An experienced NJ defense lawyer can help to determine your eligibility and can lead you through the expungement process so that you can start over with a clean criminal slate.
Call an Experienced NJ Attorney for a Free Consultation Today
While a disorderly persons offense may not seem like a huge problem, too many people learn the hard way that such convictions can cause numerous issues in their lives. Do not risk incurring unnecessary penalties for a disorderly persons conviction. Instead, call to discuss your case with highly experienced NJ defense lawyer Kurt Resch today. The Law Offices of Kurt M. Resch, P.C. has been dedicated to serving the people of New Jersey for more than 30 years and we understand how to successfully handle a wide variety of cases. Call today at 201-488-5454 for more information.