What is a Petty Offense?


Petty offenses are typically minor crimes and can include civil and criminal offenses, such as public intoxication, jaywalking, pickpocketing, and prostitution. Other types of petty crimes include minor traffic violations. People should be aware that even distracted driving can be considered a petty crime in some jurisdictions.

Some of these misdemeanors may not seem too concerning, but they should be taken seriously. It is important to understand that an accumulation of driving offenses can have an impact on a person’s driving record and their ability to maintain their driving license. Any minor charge or offense can have consequences.

Petty Offenses in Court

In New Jersey, most petty offenses are heard in municipal court. In many situations, people who are accused of pretty crimes represent themselves since they may believe that it is not serious. However, petty crimes can still appear on a person’s legal record, and if a person is accused with a petty crime, they should still seek legal counsel.

A lawyer can assist in determining which petty offenses will later appear on a legal record and for how long. A lawyer can also advise their client on expungement, which is the ability to erase certain crimes from the legal record after specific criteria has been met. This may influence how a person will plea.

Sentences Associated with Petty Offenses

It is important to know that some petty crimes still carry a sentence of incarceration. The incarceration period is usually not longer than six months. Sometimes, sentences for petty crimes can also include community service. In some cases, a fine is involved. Usually, the fines are not greater than $5,000, but it can still be a significant amount of money.

Those accused of petty crimes have the right to appear before a judge, but do not have a jury trial. It is important to learn the implications of pleading guilty, taking a plea bargain, and pleading to a lesser crime. A lawyer can help the accused determine the best course of action when faced with a bargain from the prosecutor.

Additionally, there may be maximum sentences assigned to petty crimes, and a lawyer who practices criminal law is familiar with the usual and maximum sentences associated with petty crimes.

South Jersey Criminal Defense Lawyers at Agre & St. John Provide Assistance and Guidance on How to Proceed with Petty Offenses

A petty offense should always be taken seriously since it can have an impact on your future, depending on your work situation and your driving record. A lawyer can help you if you were charged for a petty crime. The South Jersey criminal defense lawyers at Agre & St. John can guide you through the process and represent you. We are located in Haddonfield, New Jersey, and we serve clients throughout South Jersey, including Camden County, Burlington County, Gloucester County, and Salem County. Contact us online or call us at 856-454-8674 for an initial consultation.

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