Articles Posted in Disorderly Conduct

I have represented many clients charged with disorderly conduct after being arrested or issued a summons on the train platform. In many instances, these events involved either alcohol or an altercation with another individual waiting for a train or on a train. In some, but not all cases, the police issue complaints without ever seeing what happened.

In most cases, the Transit or Port Authority police issue these summons on what appears to be a ticket. This is deceiving because it give you the impression that it is no big deal, until you do a little research and find out that it will appear on your criminal record if you are convicted and show up on background checks for minimally five years until you file an expungement petition after the waiting period.

If you are like me then you will agree…this simply can’t happen without a fight. I have helped countless people from all walks if life avoid the penalties and avoid a criminal record.

Disorderly conduct is violation of NJSA 2C:33-2. A NJ disorderly conduct offense is a petty disorderly offense punishable by up to 30 days in jail and a fine of up to $500. It is an offense that will appear on your record if you are convicted. One can commit the offense in basically one of two ways.

First, the statute penalizes language (public) that is so offensive and course to the hearer that it would constitute a breach of the peace. Sound confusing? Well, although this section of the statute has not been repealed, I cannot recall ever losing a case where my client was charged with disorderly conduct under this section. This is because it is subject to constitutional freedom of speech defenses. In fact, there are court decisions which specifically address this issue. However, the offense is still frequently charged, typically when a citizen becomes involved in an oral argument with law enforcement. The bottom line is this type of offense is extremely defensible, and should be contested zealously by your lawyer.

Secondly, one can be arrested and charged with NJ disorderly conduct if there are allegations that the individual cause public annoyance, inconvenience, or alarm, or reckless risk thereof by fighting, threatening violent behavior, creating a dangerous or hazardous condition by doing some type of act that has no legitimate purpose. Typically if you are charged with disorderly conduct, you will likely be charged under this subsection. The state has the same type of issues with this type of disorderly conduct. There is a lot of gray area. The statute is vague, and a little unclear. Therefore, there are typically a multitude of defenses that an experience criminal defense lawyer can raise. I have a very high success rate defending those charged with this offense.

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