Disorderly Persons Offenses

Disorderly conduct is an offense that covers a multitude of behaviors. The idea behind the statute is to prohibit disturbing the public peace. If you have been charged with Disorderly Conduct in New Jersey, you should immediately contact an experienced Disorderly Conduct lawyer.

Common Disorderly Conduct Behaviors

  • Engaging in fighting
  • Threatening harm to persons or property
  • Engaging in violent or turbulent behavior
  • Making unreasonable noise
  • Making an offensively coarse utterance, gesture, or display
  • Communicating unwarranted and grossly abusive language to any person
  • Disobeying a police or emergency service professional’s reasonable request
  • Insulting, taunting, or challenging another under circumstances likely to provoke a violent response
  • Hindering or preventing the movement of persons so as to interfere with the rights of others
  • Creating a condition that is physically offensive to others
  • Creating a condition that presents a risk of physical harm to persons or property
  • Engage in conduct likely to be offensive, cause inconvenience, annoyance, or alarm while voluntarily intoxicated
  • Engage in conduct or create a condition that presents a risk of physical harm to the offender, to another, or to another’s property

Penalties for Disorderly Conduct in New Jersey

If you are charged with Disorderly Conduct (N.J.S.A. 2C § 33-2) you should recognize the seriousness of this charge.  Appearing in municipal court and pleading guilty to the charge without consulting a lawyer could result in life-altering consequences.  A wide range of circumstances can lead to a disorderly conduct charge: fights, arguments, offensive language, or some other improper behavior.   A disorderly conduct charge is a criminal offense, similar to a misdemeanor, which leads to a permanent record if you are found guilty or plead guilty.  The penalties under New Jersey law for individuals convicted of disorderly conduct include a jail sentence of up to six months and a monetary fine of up to $1,000.00.  Any conviction also carries mandatory assessments, fines and court costs.

Plea Bargain
An experienced attorney can negotiate a favorable Plea Agreement with the Prosecutor for these charges, getting the charges dismissed or amending them down to municipal or borough ordinance violations.  Pleading guilty to an ordinance violation means that the defendant pleads guilty to a local ordinance rather than the “2C” criminal offense and avoids a permanent criminal charge on his or her record. The municipal ordinance results in a fine and the case is resolved. This can have a significant impact on a defendant’s life as a criminal record can prevent someone from obtaining employment, among other things.

If you are charged with disorderly conduct in New Jersey, speak to a lawyer who can determine if dismissal is an option or at least meet with the Prosecutor and ask for a Plea Agreement that can amend the charge.

The New Jersey Code of Criminal Justice 2C § 33-2

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 creating a risk thereof he

  • (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 so doing, 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.

“Public” means affecting or likely to affect persons in a place to which the public or a substantial group has access; among the places included are highways, transport facilities, schools, prisons, apartment houses, places of business or amusement, or any neighborhood.