Harrison Disorderly Conduct Attorney
Defending Clients Charged With Disorderly Conduct in Harrison and Hudson County, New Jersey
Harrison may be a geographically small town in comparison to its much larger sister city of Newark, but it still has its fair share of individuals accused of disorderly conduct violating N.J.S.A. 2C:33-2. The law does not discriminate as to what side of the Passaic River you are on and everyone faces the same consequences if convicted of this petty disorderly persons offense. The law defining disorderly conduct makes it intentionally easy for a person to be charged with the offense. In actuality, disorderly conduct is a fall-back charge, meaning that police can rely upon this offense to arrest almost anyone. Whether it is you, your grandma, or your son or daughter, all the police have to allege is that you did something to disturb the public.
The offense allows law enforcement to charge almost anyone that is causing a ruckus by breaching the peace in some manner or using language perceived as abhorrent in a public place. In Harrison, New Jersey, and throughout Hudson County, it is no different. Officers arrest countless people on charges of disorderly conduct. They can arrest you as well, and they may have already, amidst claims that you did something to cause a disturbance. If you have been charged with disorderly conduct, the seasoned criminal defense lawyers at William Proetta Criminal Law are here to aid in your defense. Contact our local office in Hudson County at (201) 793-8018 for a free consultation and let’s discuss the best options available to you.
What Is a Disorderly Conduct Charge in Harrison NJ?
Disorderly conduct can be charged when it is alleged that you engaged in disruptive behavior while in public and someone was reasonably offended by your conduct. There are two provisions under N.J.S.A. 2C:33-2, namely, improper behavior and offensive language. Because of the breadth of the statute, countless acts are considered disorderly conduct . Cursing, screaming, obstructing traffic, loitering, threatening, fighting, pushing, or any other behavior that has no “legitimate” purpose are some examples of violations. these acts are not uncommon and happen every day.
In fact, most of us have been a witness to disorderly conduct in some way, shape, or form. For example, observing a drunk person leaving a bar and becoming unruly, or witnessing two people arguing without regard for those around them, or seeing and hearing people cursing and being disruptive without any consideration for others, are all ways that we can observe the offense. Of course, this only sometimes results in criminal charges for those involved.
Is a Harrison Disorderly Conduct Offense a Misdemeanor?
Disorderly conduct is a petty disorderly persons offense (pdp), the lowest type of criminal misdemeanor in New Jersey. All petty disorderly persons offenses allow a Judge who has never met you or may not care to understand the context of the situation, to put you in jail for 30 days. On top of being placed in Hudson County Jail for conduct that seems minor, the court can also force you to pay $500 in fines and mandatory fees of $125. Even worse, your criminal record will reflect that you committed the offense. The fact that this is on your record can prove problematic. To others, it may seem like you lack self-control, are prone to violence, and cannot be trusted. In Hudson, finding a job or housing can be even more difficult with an unruly offense like this on your record.
As you know, Hudson County has become increasingly popular, as it is the most densely populated county in New Jersey and ranks tenth in the United States. There are thousands of people living and working here and you are competing with all of them for jobs and housing. An employer may not understand how common the charge of disorderly conduct is and may pass over you for a job because he or she does not want to take a chance on someone who has been accused of displaying risky behavior. Also, if you are placed on probation for this charge, your employer may not want to accommodate your scheduling needs and you may find yourself out of work.
Are There Any Defenses Available for Disorderly Conduct in Harrison, New Jersey?
For this offense, your case will be litigated in Harrison Municipal Court. In this court and every other court in which your liberty is at issue, you have the right to have a trial in which the state must prove you guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. You cannot be found guilty unless it is proven that you engaged in conduct that is against the law.
And while it is easy to be charged with disorderly conduct, it may not be that easy for the state to prove. Proving you guilty requires the state to produce evidence or witness testimony establishing the fact that you were in public, and that your conduct or words could have reasonably offended others with what you said or did. Think about the above examples, if you were walking along the sidewalk and heard two people yelling, you may stop momentarily, but you would not have a vested interest in seeing the person prosecuted. As a passerby, you have likely moved on, and the police may not have obtained your information. As such, it is often the police officer who produces the report and can testify to the allegations, as the state attempts to produce a sufficient case to demonstrate your guilt.
Additionally, if you can establish that your conduct was not tumultuous or that you did, in fact, have a reason for behaving the way you did, you may be found not guilty. Often, the situations involve conduct that does have a legitimate purpose, such as defending yourself, fending off unwanted conduct, assisting others, or just an unusual interaction with someone. Conversely, if you are high as a kite and stand in the middle of the road nearly being hit by a car, there may be more substantial proof that there was no legitimate purpose for acting that way. But fear not, if you are the person that was disorderly, we can help you too. For example, we can negotiate a favorable deal with the prosecutor. The offer can eliminate jail, minimize the fine, and even result in dismissal or downgrade to an ordinance.
We know that there are explanations and defenses for almost anything in the realm of criminal law, and disorderly conduct is no different. Our experienced defense attorneys understand that there are things that we can do to help your case.
Can a Conviction for Disorderly Conduct in Harrison Municipal Court Be Expunged?
Even if you wind up with a conviction for disorderly conduct, you may be eligible for an expungement. Since this charge will show up on a background check and can prove financially harmful to your future, expunging it can be invaluable. Provided that you meet certain criteria, you may be eligible for an expungement within 5 years if convicted of disorderly conduct. An expungement removes the information from various databases so that in the future, no one can see that you were once charged or convicted of such an offense.
Finding the Best Harrison Disorderly Conduct Attorney for Your Case
Despite the frequency of the charges, the penalties for disorderly conduct can be dire. We can assist you in fighting your case in court, getting your charges dismissed or reduced, or by filing a petition for expungement if you have a disorderly conduct charge conviction in Harrison, NJ. For more information, call us today at (201) 793-8018. Our defense lawyers are here to help and we will go over your case free of charge.