New Brunswick NJ Disorderly Conduct Lawyer
New Brunswick. New Jersey is not only home to 56,000 permanent residents, it is also home to Rutgers University. University Students undoubtedly enjoy school, friends, and outings to local bars and events. In a college town where alcohol is imbibed and tempers flare, clearly what constitutes disorderly conduct occurs regularly in New Brunswick, New Jersey. Disorderly conduct is often charged when no other offense clearly fits the description of alleged behavior, which is why it is perhaps the most commonly and overcharged offense that our attorneys see. Whether you are consuming alcohol at a popular watering hole or rallying with fans at a Rutgers football game, you run the risk of being charged with disorderly conduct. Disorderly conduct, while seemingly innocuous, will not only show up on your record, but it could land you in jail for 90 days.
If you have a disorderly conduct charge, our skilled New Brunswick criminal defense lawyers frequently assist people like you in New Brunswick Municipal Court. In having represented many others charged with disorderly conduct, we understand that there are many ways to resolve disorderly conduct cases from dismissals, to conditional discharges, downgrades to local ordinance violations, and findings of not guilty after a trial. Contact our local criminal law office today at (732) 659-9600 to speak with a defense lawyer regarding representation for your New Brunswick disorderly conduct case. Do not go unrepresented and hope for the best. Call our local attorneys now to take a stand against your charges.
New Brunswick Disorderly Conduct Charges
Under N.J.S.A. 2C:33-2, you can be found guilty of disorderly conduct if the state can prove that you:
- displayed “improper behavior” in public by engaging in fighting, violent or tumultuous behavior or by creating a “hazardous s or physically dangerous condition by any act which serves no legitimate purpose of the actor” or:’
- “with purpose to offend the sensibilities of a hearer or in reckless disregard of the probability of so doing” used “unreasonably loud and offensively coarse or abusive language” in the presence of another in public.
Clearly, disorderly conduct is an intentionally far-reaching provision of the law that easily ensnares unassuming adults young and old, as well as juveniles, in the quagmire of the court system. For example, if you and your friends are leaving a bar and you supposedly begin to yell and use expletives while ignoring that others are around, you could be charged with disorderly conduct. All the state must prove is that you were using loud or course language while in public without any legitimate purpose, and that it was offensive to those around you. There is no need for the state to prove that you were intentionally vicious or angry but rather, that you offended someone with your conduct in a public place. For the other section of the disorderly conduct law, the state need only proved that you engaged in some form of improper behavior, such as fighting or creating a public disturbance.
If charged in New Brunswick for disorderly conduct, you will receive a notice to attend court at New Brunswick Municipal Court located at 5 Kirkpatrick Street, New Brunswick, NJ 08901. Once there, the court requires you to enter a guilty or not guilty plea and if a not guilty plea is entered, you will be given a future court date in which another appearance and even potentially a trial will take place.
Punishments for Disorderly Conduct in New Brunswick NJ
While disorderly conduct is not a felony (indictable crime), it is a criminal offense that can lead to serious consequences in New Brunswick and elsewhere in NJ. New Jersey law divides chargeable offenses in to three categories: indictable (felonies), disorderly persons offenses (misdemeanors), and petty disorderly persons offenses. Disorderly conduct is a petty disorderly persons offense. These types of offenses require a person to go to the local Municipal Court in the town in which the offense occurred. If convicted of disorderly conduct, the court can sentence you to 90 days in jail, probation, up to $500 in fines, and approximately $125 in mandatory penalties as well as court costs. But, before the court can find you guilty, the state must attempt to prove that you committed the offense. Under New Jersey law, no one can be convicted without the prosecution proving you guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
If you plead guilty or are found guilty of a disorderly conduct offense, it will show up on your permanent criminal record. Unfortunately, while this is a low-level petty disorderly persons offense, disorderly conduct can travel with you. Depending on the case, potential employers may even be discouraged from hiring you. Whether you are a young person looking forward to a bright future or someone already in the workforce, disorderly conduct can cause damage beyond your control.
Can I Expunge a New Brunswick Disorderly Conduct Offense?
Although disorderly conduct does appear on a background check, you can derive some comfort from the fact that the charge can be expunged. In New Jersey, if convicted of disorderly conduct, you are entitled to an expungement for disorderly conduct with 5 years of completion of your sentence, term of probation, and payment of all fines. In some cases, the charge may be expunged within 3 years. An expungement means that records of your arrest will be permanently removed from the all statewide systems, local municipalities, and state and local police departments. Unless applying for a public position, a firearm permit, a job in law enforcement, or certain other opportunities, your disorderly conduct charge will be virtually erased from your past.
Municipal Ordinances for Disorderly Conduct in New Brunswick
When you are facing disorderly conduct-related allegations in New Brunswick, it is essential to know if you have been charged with a criminal offense or issued a municipal ordinance violation. New Brunswick has its own municipal ordinance for disorderly conduct, explained in Ordinance 9.04.050. This allows law enforcement in the city to give ordinances to those accused of indecent gesturing in public, annoying others in a public setting such as a sidewalk or on the street, generally disturbing the peace, playing music too loud in an area where others can hear, or indecently exposing themselves. The penalties for a violation of New Brunswick Ordinance No. 9.04.050 include up to 90 days in Middlesex County jail and a maximum fine of $2,000.
Clearly, the penalties for violating the disorderly conduct ordinance in New Brunswick are steep. It is important to note, however, that being convicted or pleading guilty to a municipal ordinance violation does not technically mean you will have a criminal offense on your record. This can be extremely beneficial when pursuing jobs and filling out applications that ask about your criminal history and whether or not you have ever been convicted of a crime. Technically, you can answer “no” to this question if your case is resolved by way of an ordinance in New Brunswick. As a result, it is sometimes a good option to have a disorderly conduct criminal charge downgraded to a local ordinance, where you can simply pay a fine and avoid a criminal conviction on your record.
Consult a New Brunswick NJ Disorderly Conduct Defense Attorney for Help
Before heading to New Brunswick Municipal Court to answer for your alleged disorderly conduct offense, seek the assistance of a knowledgeable and experienced New Brunswick defense attorney. Our attorneys at Proetta & Oliver have accumulated hefty experience handling cases involving disorderly conduct in New Brunswick, as it is one of the most commonly charged offenses in this town and we have been practicing criminal defense in the area for many years. Contact us online or call (732) 659-9600 for a free consultation about your charges and begin crafting your best defense.