Since other states categorize offenses into misdemeanors and felonies, it’s reasonable to assume that New Jersey does, too. If you ever find yourself on the wrong side of the law in the Garden State, though, you’ll quickly learn that they take a different approach to criminal charges.
The New Jersey Criminal Code divides transgressions into crimes and disorderly persons offenses. What other states consider a felony, New Jersey generally considers a crime. Likewise, disorderly persons offenses encompass most misdemeanors.
If you or someone you love has been charged with the Garden State’s version of a misdemeanor, here’s what you should know:
What Are the Potential Penalties for a Disorderly Persons Conviction?
Those who are convicted of a disorderly persons offense face up to six months in county jail. Depending on the circumstances surrounding the transgression, they may also lose their driving privileges. Additionally, they may be ordered to pay a fine of up to $1,000.
It’s worth noting that there is a lesser version of disorderly persons offenses. Called petty offenses, the associated charges carry a jail sentence of up to 30 days and a fine of up to $500.
Common examples of petty offenses include harassment and disorderly conduct. Common examples of standard offenses, on the other hand, include:
- Underage drinking;
- Possession of a fake ID;
- Simple assault;
- Possession of less than 50 grams of marijuana; and
- Possession of drug paraphernalia.
Can Juveniles Be Charged with Disorderly Persons Offenses?
Minors can be charged with disorderly persons offenses. Instead of going to the local municipal court, however, their cases are heard in family court.
While juveniles can face some of the same penalties as adults, there are also a host of alternative sentences that the family law judge can impose following a conviction. Examples of such penalties include community service, probation, and approved work programs.
Can You Ever Have a Conviction for a Disorderly Persons Offense Expunged?
If you’re convicted of a disorderly persons offense, it may be possible to have the entire transgression, including the details of the arrest and the charges that resulted, cleared from your record five years after you have satisfied the sentence.
In order to be eligible for expungement, the conviction must have been your first. Should this be the case, a seasoned attorney can help you draft the petition and file it with all necessary parties.
While having a “misdemeanor” on your record may not seem like a major issue, it’s worth attempting to expunge if you qualify. Having any kind of criminal record can make it harder to secure certain jobs, maintain professional licenses, and even find housing.
Speak with a Morristown Criminal Defense Attorney
At The Law Offices of Joseph S. Scura, we’re well-versed at fighting charges for both crimes and disorderly persons offenses. If police have accused you of violating the law, we’ll help you devise a strategic defense so you can secure the best outcome possible. To schedule a free case review with a criminal defense lawyer in Morristown, call 973-832-0841 or fill out our Online Contact Form.