What is a Disorderly Persons Offense in NJ?
Disorderly persons and petty disorderly persons offenses are typically handled by the local municipal court in Hudson County where the alleged offense or transgression occurred. This means that a charge for simple possession of marijuana under fifty (50) grams, harassment, shoplifting or disorderly conduct would be adjudicated at the Hoboken Municipal Court provided it occurred within the City. The municipal judge would hear the case and the appointed municipal prosecutor for the Municipality would represent the State. The most common disorderly persons offenses that towns like Bayonne, Secaucus, Jersey City, North Bergen and Union City handle are simple assault, marijuana possession and disorderly conduct. Depending on the charges, a disorderly persons offense can result in up to six (6) months, or 180 days, in the Hudson County Jail. For this reasons, acting Pro Se (ie. on behalf of yourself) carries serious consequences if you are unable to adequately protect your rights and interests. If you or a loved one has been charged with a disorderly persons offense in Hudson County, New Jersey, the Law Office of Jonathan F. Marshall can help. Our office has eight Jersey City, NJ criminal defense lawyers on staff, making our office one of the largest criminal defense firms in the State let alone Hudson County. For a free initial consultation please contact our Jersey City office for a free initial consultation. We can be reached 24/7 at (201) 309-1800.
Will I go to Jail for Disorderly Persons Offenses in Hudson County?
For an individual convicted of a disorderly persons offense, the maximum term that can be imposed is six (6) months imprisonment. Conversely, for an individual convicted of a petty disorderly persons offense, the maximum term that can be imposed for is thirty (30) days. Whether a disorderly persons offense or a petty disorderly persons offense, the term of imprisonment must be definite regardless of the age of the defendant. Furthermore, the maximum fine on a disorderly persons offense is $1,000 where the maximum fine for a petty disorderly persons offense is $500. It is important to note here, as though the fine may be considered nominal to some, the most important thing to keep in mind that a disorderly persons offense conviction, regardless of the underline offense, is a criminal offense, equivalent to the more common phrase misdemeanor. If convicted, you will have a permanent criminal record for at least five (5) years, then you must petition the Superior Court to have that conviction expunged. For more information on expungements in New Jersey please check out our expungement practice series by clicking here.
Can I get a Jury Trial for Disorderly Persons Offenses?
Disorderly persons and petty disorderly persons offenses are not technically considered crimes according to the New Jersey Criminal Code, they are considered offenses. Additionally, a defendant facing this type of offense is not entitled to a trial by jury under the Sixth Amendment of the United States Constitution. This is because charges that cannot result in a sentence beyond six (6) months do not trigger the right to a jury trial. Therefore, since disorderly persons only carry the possibility of up to six (6) months in jail, a trial by jury is not guaranteed by the Constitution. However, it is important to reiterate here, that a conviction for a disorderly persons offense will leave you scared with a criminal record. For multiple disorderly person and petty disorderly persons offenses, the court has discretion to impose consecutive or concurrent sentences. However, the aggregate of the consecutive sentences to a county institution cannot exceed eighteen (18) months.
Jersey City NJ Disorderly Persons Offense Lawyers
The Law Office of Jonathan F. Marshall is an experienced Hudson County, NJ criminal defense firm. Our office has over 100 years of combined experience on staff, including twenty-five years of prior prosecuting experience. If you or a loved one has been charged with a disorderly persons offense, whether it be simple assault, possession of marijuana under 50 grams or disorderly conduct, we can help. For more information please contact our Jersey City office directly at (201) 309-1800.