Piscataway Disorderly Conduct Attorney
Piscataway, a local town in Middlesex County, is not only home to nearly 60,000 residents, but it welcomes many others who frequent the town every day. Rutgers hosts scores of students and visitors, while numerous international companies located in the town employ thousands of people who show up to work each day. Many more people meet up after work in Piscataway, or head to a Rutgers football game at SHI stadium to forget about life for a while and enjoy one another’s company. But what if in the process of enjoying a fun night out or attending a sporting event to cheer on the Scarlet Knights, you end up charged with disorderly conduct in Piscataway, New Jersey?
If you are facing disorderly conduct charges in Piscataway, you should know what to expect before going to Piscataway Municipal Court, as there are often unintended consequences for those who attend court unprepared and without a lawyer. The following provides you with more information about what a disorderly conduct offense means, its classification within the New Jersey crime classification system, and the serious penalties you face if convicted of this petty disorderly persons offense in Piscataway. If you would like to discuss your case with an experienced Piscataway criminal defense attorney who can provide you with personalized guidance and assistance, contact William Proetta Criminal Law online or by phone at (732) 659-9600. Consultations are always available and provided absolutely free of charge.
Disorderly Conduct Violations of 2C:33-2 in Piscataway NJ
You commit disorderly conduct if, while in public, you are found to have purposely caused any inconvenience, concern (alarm), annoyance, or a situation which resulted in the same by:
- Fighting or taking part in threatening, tumultuous, or violent behavior;
- Creating a dangerous situation by doing something or behaving in a way that has no legitimate purpose;
- Using offensive or foul language that serves no legitimate purpose and would reasonably be perceived as offending or upsetting the listener or anyone within earshot.
Even if it is not your intention to offend someone with the language used, you can be convicted of disorderly conduct, if it is established that you ignored the risk that someone could or would be offended. Disorderly conduct is a charge frequently used to deter unruly or disruptive behavior in public. Police typically attempt to maintain some semblance of order in large gatherings, such as sports games and concerts. Rules and order serve to protect the overall safety of the public, as well as to ensure that those around you can enjoy themselves and the event itself. However, disorderly conduct is often over-used by officers seeking to control a person in a public place. For instance, at football games, onlookers are generally filled with both enthusiasm and adrenaline. The atmosphere is ripe for fun, but sometimes fun teeters over the edge into conflict. Behavior spills into the zone of “tumultuous” when someone yells obscenities, threatens another person, or is behaving in a manner that may disturb the peace and order of their surroundings. This often occurs when emotions run high and excitement is combined with alcohol. Due to the potential for violence, New Jersey law allows police to curb or stop this behavior by charging a person with disorderly conduct.
A portion of the statute for disorderly conduct that is not often discussed is the term “tumultuous behavior.” This phrase allows the police to charge almost anyone with violating N.J.S.A. 2C:33-2. It simply means that you acted in a disruptive manner. Your intentions during the incident are not necessarily the central focus of the analysis. The ultimate determination of whether you were being disruptive is made by the person viewing the action. The person listening and observing you is the person that would testify to the court as to whether your behavior was tumultuous or otherwise disruptive. In many cases, the person is not a nearby witness, but instead, the police officer who gave you the summons in the first place. Usually, the police or security will warn you to stop whatever it is you are doing. Unfortunately, if you do not stop or fail to stop quickly enough, you may eventually be given a summons to appear in Piscataway Municipal Court for disorderly conduct.
Penalty for a Disorderly Conduct Charge in Piscataway
If you have been charged with disorderly conduct in Piscataway, this constitutes a petty disorderly persons offense. The charge is similar to a misdemeanor or summary offense, as opposed to an indictable/felony crime. While a petty disorderly persons offense is the lowest level criminal offense that one can be charged with in New Jersey, a conviction can have a detrimental influence on your life in several vital ways. The case begins with the summons-complaint and court date for a first appearance.
If accused of violating N.J.S.A. 2C:33-2 through improper behavior or offensive language in Piscataway, your case will be heard in Piscataway Municipal Court located at 555 Piscataway Road. In court, you can try to reach an agreement with the prosecutor to downgrade the offense to a municipal ordinance, seek a dismissal based on issues with the evidence or lack thereof, or eventually have a trial in front of the judge. If convicted, the court can sentence you to Middlesex County Jail for 30 days. Also, you could be placed on probation and ordered to pay as much as $500 in fines. You will also be ordered to pay approximately $33 in court costs, a $75 Safe Neighborhood Fund Fee, and a $50 Victims of Crime Assessment Fee. To make matters worse, the charge will appear on your criminal record. If you are placed on probation in lieu of jail, you can be forced to meet with your probation officer at times that can interfere with work or school, posing an additional burden.
Piscataway NJ Disorderly Conduct Defense Lawyers
Our attorneys understand how a simple event or an evening of fun can turn into a case for disorderly conduct. We have assisted many clients in navigating Piscataway Municipal Court court, fighting the charges, and lessening or mitigating the possible consequences. Don’t go it alone and at the very least, get your questions answered. For a free consultation with a Piscataway criminal defense lawyer who can help, contact us today at (732) 659-9600.