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What is a Disorderly Conduct Charge?

On Behalf of | Mar 8, 2021 | Criminal Law, Expungments

Different states and municipalities have their own rules regarding disorderly conduct. Generally, disorderly conduct causes a public disturbance and could lead to criminal charges. Fighting could fall under the disorderly conduct category. More serious altercations could lead to battery or assault. Public misconduct such as intoxication is another common type of disorderly conduct. It is not uncommon for people to be charged with disorderly conduct at public gatherings as well. Peaceful protests are legal, but disruptive protests can lead to criminal charges.

The state of New Jersey considers a disorderly persons offense as one that causes public risk, alarm, annoyance, or inconvenience through violent or chaotic behavior. Creating a dangerous condition that serves no legitimate purpose and using loud, offensive language in a public place with a reckless disregard for others could also lead to a disorderly conduct charge.

Disorderly conduct is considered as a misdemeanor in New Jersey. A misdemeanor may not sound serious, but an offender can receive fines, jail time, and marks on their criminal record. Additionally, the offender may have to pay for any responsible damages. Misdemeanor charges can make it harder to get into certain colleges, careers, and housing as well.

Fines and Penalties

In New Jersey, penalties can include fines up to $500 and up to 30 days in jail. A disorderly conduct conviction often does not lead to jail time, especially it is a first offense or a simple misdemeanor. A probation sentence is more common than jail time for this kind of charge.

For more serious and dangerous acts, offenders will likely receive higher fines and jail time; this is also true for repeat offenders. If the person gets a felony conviction, they might be sent to a state prison for a year or more and receive higher fines.

What are My Legal Options?

Contacting an experienced criminal defense lawyer is a wise move for an individual who is facing a disorderly conduct charge. A skilled lawyer might be able to help the accused get the charge expunged from their criminal record. Offenses like domestic violence and more violent crimes will likely not qualify for expungement.

With the right kind of legal guidance, an individual may be able to avoid a conviction, which is done through a carry order. A carry order requests a judge to delay the case for several months so that the accused can seek counseling. When the time period is up, the defendant has an opportunity to prove that they completed the counseling and remained free from arrests. The judge may decide to drop the charges, but there are no guarantees. For help with the best defense, the accused should speak to a lawyer as soon as possible.

South Jersey Criminal Defense Lawyers at Agre & St. John Help Clients with Disorderly Conduct Charges

A disorderly conduct charge is a misdemeanor, but it should be taken seriously. Any criminal charge can lead to severe consequences, such as fines and jail time. If you are facing a disorderly conduct charge and need legal guidance, a South Jersey criminal defense lawyer at Agre & St. John can help you. Call us at 856-428-7797 or complete our online form for an initial consultation. We have office located in Haddonfield, New Jersey, and we proudly serve clients throughout South Jersey, including Burlington County, Camden County, Gloucester County, and Salem County.