East Brunswick Disorderly Persons Offenses
East Brunswick NJ Disorderly Persons Defense Attorney
In East Brunswick, both residents and nearby Rutgers University students are often the target of arrests for disorderly persons offenses. In this town or anywhere else in New Jersey, you can be arrested for a disorderly persons offense or a petty disorderly persons offense, if the specific criminal conduct amounts to a misdemeanor. These offenses are not indictable crimes, also known as felonies, subject to state prison. However, the court can send you to the Middlesex County Jail if the charges are not dismissed and if no arrangements are made for an alternative sentence. Aside from jail time, there are financial and personal consequences that can affect a person’s life for years into the future, including a criminal record. Before you make any decisions about how to handle a disorderly persons charge in East Brunswick, New Jersey, you should seek the advice of an attorney both experienced with disorderly persons cases and the local East Brunswick Municipal Court. Our East Brunswick criminal defense lawyers have both and we are here to assist you with a free consultation and diligent defense representation if you elect to employ our services. Call (732) 659-9600 for answers unique to your individual circumstances.
Disorderly Persons Charges in East Brunswick NJ
East Brunswick is a neighboring town of New Brunswick, and often houses Rutgers University students in addition to many families. The town is likewise the site of numerous disorderly persons offenses and petty disorderly persons offenses, such as disorderly conduct, marijuana possession of less than 50 grams, and simple assault. In many cases, disorderly persons offenses are unintentionally committed by adults and college kids, resulting in criminal charges with the potential for life-altering consequences.
The term disorderly persons offense refers to the grading of a criminal offense and not the actual conduct committed in the course of an offense. Some people mistake a disorderly conduct charge with being charged with a disorderly persons offense, but these terms represent two distinct concepts under New Jersey law. All offenses in New Jersey are listed as either being crimes (those subject to indictment) and termed as felonies, or disorderly persons offenses, akin to criminal misdemeanors. Crimes are the higher-level offenses and disorderly persons offenses are the lower-level offenses handled by local municipal courts associated with the specific municipality in which the charges were issued. For disorderly persons offenses, the police allege that individuals have committed certain acts prohibited by law, but that the conduct does not rise to the level of an indictable crime. Some commonly charged disorderly persons offenses in East Brunswick Township include:
- Possessing less than 50 grams of marijuana, for instance, a joint or small baggie of weed
- Simple assault, for a bar fight, scuffle with a significant other, or alleged threat to harm another;
- Criminal mischief: damaging someone else’s property in an amount less than $200, as in the case of breaking a window, denting a car, throwing your girlfriend’s or boyfriend’s phone, etc.;
- Theft: stealing something worth less than $200, which may result if you are accused of taking some cash from someone else’s wallet, or stealing a person’s jewelry or phone
- Shoplifting: taking or concealing any merchandise valued at less than $200 from a store, or returning stolen items to a store for a cash refund;
- Having drug paraphernalia: possessing a bowl used to smoke marijuana, a bong, pipe, rolling papers, and the like;
- Possessing a fake id for the purpose of purchasing alcohol, getting into a local bar, or drinking alcohol underage
There are other forms of conduct for which you can be charged with a disorderly persons offense, but the above are some of the more common offenses adjudicated in East Brunswick Municipal Court.
Petty Disorderly Persons Offenses in East Brunswick
In addition to crimes and disorderly persons offenses, there are petty disorderly persons offenses, the lowest level criminal offenses for which a person can be charged in East Brunswick and the state of New Jersey. Chief among petty disorderly persons offenses, especially in college towns and nearby areas, is disorderly conduct. Disorderly conduct occurs when a person’s behavior disrupts the public in some way or they are accused of being offensive or obscene with the language they used in a public place.
What Happens if I’m Charged with a Disorderly Persons Offense in East Brunswick?
Once charged with a DP or PDP offense in East Brunswick, you will be advised of a date upon which you must appear in East Brunswick Municipal Court. You will have the opportunity to retain an attorney prior to court or after your first appearance. Many people initially go to court alone and then realize that they should have an attorney representing their best interests. You are entitled to ask for an attorney at your first appearance and if you decide to go this route, you should ask the court for a new date so that you can retain a lawyer. Your criminal defense attorney will receive the discovery from the prosecutor, discuss your case with him or her, and help you decide to file motions, take a deal, apply for a diversionary program, or go to trial.
Ultimately, you face certain consequences if convicted of a disorderly persons or petty disorderly persons offense. In East Brunswick, the permissible penalties are as follows:
- Disorderly persons offense: 6 months in jail, up to $1000 in fines, court costs, mandatory state fees, or probation.
- Petty disorderly persons offense: 30 days in jail, up to $500 in fines, court costs, mandatory state penalties, and possibly probation.
The court may impose additional penalties if the situation demands. For example, if you plead or are found guilty of possessing less than 50 grams of marijuana, you will be forced to pay a $500 drug penalty, as well as a $50 lab fee. The court may also suspend your license for 6 months at minimum, and even up to 24 months. As if monetary punishments were not enough, a plea to shoplifting, theft, or another crime of moral turpitude could have immigration consequences for those who are not citizens.
Want to Fight a Disorderly Persons Charge in East Brunswick?
Fortunately, our attorneys have been successfully aiding in the defense of individuals charged with disorderly persons offenses in East Brunswick for over a decade and we can assist you with executing the best defense in your case. Contact our local office at (732) 659-9600 to discuss your case, your options, and what we can do to help you reach the peak available outcome. Our lawyers are available around the clock to provide you with a free consultation.