Disorderly conduct is one of the most common crimes charged by police and covers a wide variety of situations that range from fighting to lewd and offensive language. Depending on the offense, penalties for disorderly conduct can range from fines to time in jail.
Though many view crimes such as domestic violence, drug offences, and traffic violations such as DUI’s as more serious, it is important to remember that any charge can cause serious interruptions to your life and cause financial hardship for you and your family. For this reason it is always important to consult a qualified and experienced Union County attorney when charged with any crime.
Edward S. Cooper has served as a dedicated legal advocate for individuals and their families in Union County, Linden, Westfield and Scotch Plains for over 26 years. His work on behalf of those who find themselves involved in the New Jersey municipal court system has allowed him to develop a solid reputation as an honest and aggressive defender his clients.
Common Disorderly Conduct Offenses Lawyer Elizabeth NJ
Statutes Title 2C § 33-2 of the New Jersey Code defines “disorderly conduct” as a “breach of the peace”. Law enforcement often uses disorderly conduct charges in many different situations and circumstances. In general, you can be arrested and charged with this offense by engaging in “improper behavior” or “using offensive language.” For example, you could be arrested for screaming obscenities or making lewd gestures at a bank teller. In such cases, the inappropriateness of the behavior would overshadow one’s freedom of speech or expression.
You can also be arrested for improper behavior if you purposefully cause a public inconvenience, annoyance or alarm, or recklessly creating a risk by any of the following:
- Threatening someone
- Committing violent or tumultuous behavior
- Creating a hazardous condition that serves no legitimate purpose
For example, getting into a fistfight can be considered “improper behavior,” among other possible violations of the law.
Also illegal in New Jersey:
- loitering for the purpose of buying or selling drugs
- blocking a highway, road, or sidewalk
- refusing an official order to stop blocking a road or sidewalk or move away from an emergency
- picketing a funeral or memorial service
- interfering with a lawful meeting or procession in order to prevent or disrupt it
- damaging or deface any public monument, symbol, or place of worship or burial
- interfering in any way with the operation or use of a public transit vehicle
Union Disorderly Conduct Convictions
Many individuals charged with disorderly conduct often do not recognize the seriousness of the charge. Often, these individuals appear in municipal court and simply plead guilty to the charge without consulting an attorney. Penalties under New Jersey law for those convicted of simple (first degree) disorderly conduct may include a jail sentence of up to six months and a monetary fine of up to $1,000.00. In addition any conviction also carries mandatory assessments of $50 for the Victims of Crime Compensation Board (VCCB), $75 for the Safe Neighborhood Services Fund, $33 in municipal court fees as well as other potential legal costs and fees.
However all instances of disorderly conduct may not be charged equally and charges may be elevated depending on the circumstances. For example, interfering with transit is more severely punished if property damage or injury is caused. In fact depending on the level of damage or injury it can be raised to a second, third, or fourth degree crime. In the State of New Jersey, second degree crimes are punishable by between five and ten years in prison and a fine up to $150,000. Third degree crimes are punishable by between three and five years’ imprisonment and a fine up to $15,000. Fourth degree crimes are punishable by up to 18 months in prison and a fine up to $10,000.
It is also important to note that rioting is a crime of the third or fourth degree.
Contact our Linden Criminal Defense Attorneys Today
Regardless of the specific offense which you have been charged with, it is extremely important to have a knowledgeable attorney who can guide you through the municipal court legal process. Moreover, it is exponentially more valuable to have an attorney who frequently appears in the specific court in which your case will be heard because they are more likely to be familiar with the nuances of court procedure and the individuals who operate within that court daily.
Attorney Edward Cooper uses his extensive experience in towns such as Linden, Cranford, Westfield, Elizabeth, Plainfield, Union, Scotch Plains, Garwood and Roselle Park, to more effectively advocate for his clients who face prosecution in these jurisdictions.
If you or someone you love has been charged with disorderly conduct or another criminal offense in Union, Middlesex, or Somerset counties, contact us at the law offices of Attorney Edward S. Cooper today at (908) 481-4625 for a cost-free consultation.