The Jersey Shore may have a reputation as a state that caters to bad behavior. However, the state laws do not tolerate bad behavior well. Individuals that even go as far as breaching the peace in New Jersey, by fighting, using offensive language in public or making loud noises, get arrested and charged with disorderly conduct. Individuals who are charged with disorderly conduct, sometimes referred to as “disturbing the peace,” can face serious charges.
However, such a charge can be open to interpretation by the arresting law enforcement, as they are permitted to use their discretion in determining if the individual’s action is reckless and disruptive per the law. As such, individuals arrested for disorderly conduct should not automatically plead guilty. Instead, they should hire an experienced attorney to protect their rights and help them devise a strategy to have the charges reduced or dismissed altogether.
What Is a Disorderly Conduct Charge Under New Jersey Law?
The State of New Jersey considers a disorderly conduct charge as a serious offence under its criminal code system. This charge generally addresses street behavior and other such conduct in a public atmosphere that may disturb the public and an otherwise peaceful setting. The charge is codified under N.J.S.A 2C:33-2.
The police may charge you with disorderly conduct if you are disruptive, obnoxious and display potentially dangerous street behavior. The police often use this charge when they respond to a scene to break up a potentially violent street encounter or to halt disruptive behavior that is typically a result of intoxication, anger, volatility and outrageous emotions.
Two Major Types of Disorderly Conduct
There are two types of behavior that cause New Jersey law enforcement to generally charge people for disorderly conduct. Both of these categories can result in a criminal record.
- Improper Behavior – A person can be charged for disorderly conduct if he or she engages in improper behavior. Improper behavior includes purposely causing public inconvenience, annoyance or alarm, or recklessly creating a risk by behaving in such a way that may be considered violent, threatening or tumultuous fighting or creates a condition through no legitimate means that may be considered hazardous.
- Offensive Language – A person can also be charged for disorderly conduct if he or she uses offensive language that is unreasonably loud, offensive, coarse or abusive. The offensive language must be used in a public setting with a reckless disregard for offending another person’s sensitivities.
Types of Behavior Commonly Charged for Disorderly Conduct
A disorderly conduct under New Jersey law can include any type of action or behavior that may result in a disturbance of any kind. Common types of behavior that are charged for disorderly conduct include:
- Loud noise issues
- Attempting to provoke a fight
- Being intoxicated and disruptive
For more information or to schedule a free consultation with New Jersey reckless driving attorney Dan Matrafajlo, please call the Law Offices of Dan T. Matrafajlo at (908) 248-4404.