New Jersey Disorderly Conduct Attorney
To be convicted of disorderly conduct, a person must engage in fighting, threatening, violent, or tumultuous behavior or create a hazardous or physically dangerous condition by an act which serves no legitimate purpose.
In addition, these acts must be committed with the purpose to cause public inconvenience, annoyance, or alarm, or recklessly create a risk of any of these. “Public” means affecting or likely to affect persons in a place to which the public or a substantial group has access. This includes highways, transport facilities, schools, prisons, apartment houses, places of business or amusement, or any neighborhood. A New Jersey criminal defense attorney can advise you of your rights if you are charged with disorderly conduct.
The prosecutor must prove that there was a public inconvenience. Therefore, people other than a police officer must witness it. In addition, the behavior must be aggressive or threatening, not just clowning around. These charges usually arise from some type of argument involving physical contact, often at a bar or party, where the participants are intoxicated.
A person may also be guilty of disorderly conduct if in a public place, and with the purpose of offending the sensibilities of a hearer or in reckless disregard of the probability of doing so, the person addresses unreasonable loud and offensively coarse or abuse language, given the circumstances of the person present and the setting of the utterance, to any person present. The offensive language element of the statute is hardly ever charged and very difficult to prove. In fact, this part of the statute has been held to be overly broad.
Disorderly Conduct Punishment & Penalties
A person convicted of disorderly conduct may face a $500 fine and up to 30 days in jail. If a motor vehicle was used while committing the offense, the court may suspend the defendant’s driver’s license for up to two years. The potential punishment is serious and should not be taken lightly. If you are charged with disorderly conduct, you should seek legal advice from a New Jersey criminal defense attorney immediately in order to protect your rights.