Piscataway New Jersey Disorderly Persons Offenses
Defense Lawyer for Disorderly Persons Criminal Charges in Piscataway NJ
Lying just south of the Raritan River is the town of Piscataway, a large municipality in Middlesex County with a population of roughly 50,500. In addition to local residents, Rutgers Knights Stadium (SCI) is located in the town, which draws tons of visitors, as the stadium’s seating capacity is 52,000. Considering the influx of people and the sheer number of individuals who frequent Piscataway, costs for enforcing the laws can be high. One result of the continued law enforcement presence in the town is the charging of residents and visitors with disorderly persons offenses. These offenses are heard in Piscataway Municipal Court where the judge is permitted to issue jail sentences, impose fines and penalties, and force those convicted to pay court costs and fees.
You may be in a predicament if you or a loved one has been charged with a disorderly persons offense in Piscataway and unsure about who to turn to for help. At Proetta & Oliver, our Piscataway criminal attorneys can provide dedicated legal counsel and skillful representation to assist you in reaching the best result. Practicing criminal defense is what we do and have been doing for the last decade, so our lawyers can walk you through the process and ensure that the law is put to work in your favor. Simply contact us at (732) 659-9600 to discuss the charges you are facing. Consultations are free and a member of our team is available now to assist you.
What does it mean to be charged with a disorderly persons offense in Piscataway NJ?
Disorderly persons offenses are criminal offenses, but not crimes in the typical felony sense. In other states, disorderly persons offenses are often referred to as misdemeanors and the term is widely used to refer to something criminal in nature that does not amount to a felony.
To better understand what this charge means, it is useful to explain what a disorderly persons offense is not. In New Jersey, felony crimes are referred to as indictable crimes, which means the defendant must be indicted by a grand jury before the case can proceed. Disorderly persons offenses do not require an indictment. Moreover, a disorderly persons charge will be heard in the local municipal court in the municipality where the charges were filed. Conversely, a felony is transferred to the county superior court for adjudication.
An additional distinction between a felony and a disorderly persons offense is that every felony offense carries a potential term in New Jersey State Prison, whereas a disorderly persons offense solely permits a county jail sentence. Similarly, potential fines for felonies can be tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars, while those imposed for disorderly persons offenses are capped at $1,000. In some cases, a disorderly persons offense can be a good way to resolve a felony case, as the impacts are less severe than their indictable counterparts.
While disorderly persons offenses are less serious criminal offenses, they are not the equivalent of traffic tickets or violations of municipal ordinances. Essentially, a “DP” falls somewhere between a traffic offense and a crime. For instance, a traffic ticket is not reflected on your criminal background but does appear on your motor vehicle record. Town ordinance violations in Piscataway allow for fines and minor stints in jail but are typically not punished with jail time and can alleviate the need to answer “yes” when asked if you’ve ever been convicted of a criminal offense.
Despite being considered relatively minor offenses, a disorderly persons offense is by no means a matter to take lightly, as they do permit significant criminal sentences upon conviction.
What is the disorderly persons offense that I am accused of in Piscataway?
Many criminal offenses have guidelines that allow for the charging of a felony or a disorderly persons counterpart, depending on the specific criteria applicable to a given case. For example, if you are accused of theft involving items worth more than $200, you will be charged with a fourth degree felony offense. On the other hand, if the items are worth less than $200, you will be charged with a disorderly persons offense for theft. Some of the leading disorderly persons offenses for which you may find yourself in Municipal Court in Piscataway involve:
- Shoplifting (less than $200)
- Theft (less than $200)
- Receiving stolen property (less than $200)
- Resisting arrest
- Possession of less than 50 grams of marijuana
- Possessing prescription pills not in a proper container
- Possession of drug paraphernalia
- Simple assault
What You Face for a Piscataway Disorderly Persons Offense
Unless charged with a form of domestic violence, for a disorderly persons offense, you will be given a summons to appear in Piscataway Municipal Court to answer the complaint. A summons is a “notice” for court as opposed to a “warrant” which permits law enforcement to hold you in jail until your case is reviewed by a judge who will ultimately decide if you should be released on your own recognizance, released with conditions, or detained until your case concludes.
If found guilty of a disorderly persons offense in Piscataway, you may be sentenced to 6 months in the Middlesex County Jail, probation with conditions, or jail and then probation. Additionally, these offenses allow for the assessment of fines, and the court could require you to pay as much as $1,000 in addition to the mandatory fines of $125, plus court costs and assessments. Some cases, such as drug charges filed in Piscataway, also expose you to a suspension of your driving privileges for anywhere from 6 to 24 months.
Can I Win a Disorderly Persons Offense Case in Piscataway New Jersey?
If you have been charged with a disorderly persons offense in Piscataway, New Jersey, getting help from an experienced criminal defense attorney is imperative for the success of your case. Our local criminal lawyers are highly familiar with how to handle disorderly persons charges and attuned to the uniqueness of each case and each client that we represent. Contact us at (732) 659-9600 if you have an upcoming case in Piscataway and would like to know more. We provide free consultations around the clock, so call or start a chat today.