Depending on the nature of the circumstances, criminal offenses may fall under several different categories: indictable offenses (these are the serious crimes like murder, assault, serious drug offenses that other states often call “felonies”), disorderly persons offenses (criminal offenses such as possession of under 50g of marijuana, shoplifting, and simple assault – some states call these “misdemeanors”), and petty disorderly persons offenses (such as harassment, for example).
If you have been charged with a disorderly persons offense (also referred to as a “DP”) in New Jersey, it’s important to know what types of penalties you could be facing.
What Are the Penalties for a Disorderly Persons Offense in NJ?
There are two different classifications here: disorderly persons offense and petty disorderly offenses. A disorderly persons offense is more serious than a petty disorderly offense. A DP offense puts the person charged at risk of a fine of up to $1,000 and up to six (6) months in jail. Petty disorderly persons offenses, on the other hand, may result in a fine of up to $500 and up to thirty (30) days in jail.
Can I Avoid Jail?
An experienced criminal defense attorney can attempt to help you avoid jail by reaching an agreement with the prosecutor that will provide for another type of penalty, such as probation, community service, or restitution.
An experienced criminal defense attorney could also help you to determine whether you are eligible for a program through the court where you’d avoid a conviction altogether. These programs are called diversionary programs, and are available to some defendants under certain circumstances. If you are accepted into and successfully complete one of these programs, the court will dismiss the charges against you.
The Expungement Process
If you have been charged with or found guilty of a disorderly persons or petty disorderly persons offense, you may be concerned about how this will affect your future. Under certain circumstances, you may be able to apply for an expungement, which will keep your criminal record private except in very few circumstances. Getting an expungement often helps people obtain jobs, careers, educational opportunities, and housing that they otherwise would not have been able to obtain.
In New Jersey, individuals convicted of disorderly persons offenses must wait five years after the conviction to have it expunged from their criminal record. In some cases, you may be able to get an “early pathway expungement,” which can move up the waiting period to three years after your sentence has been served (i.e., you’d have to wait 3 years from the date you finished paying fines, completed probation, etc.). A skilled criminal defense attorney will be able to look into the details of your case and determine when you can expunge your criminal record and help you get started so you can get your life back on track.
Contact an Experienced Audubon Criminal Defense Lawyer About Your Disorderly Persons Charges in NJ
Were you arrested or charged with a disorderly persons offense in New Jersey? The consequences of a conviction could be severe, leaving you with a permanent criminal record and possibly even sending you to jail. That is why you need to speak with a qualified criminal defense attorney as soon as possible about your case. The attorneys at Aydelotte & Scardella Law LLC have successfully represented clients charged with disorderly persons offenses in Audubon, Hamilton, and throughout New Jersey. Call (856) 452-4820 or fill out the online contact form to schedule a consultation with a member of our legal team. We have an office conveniently located at 109 East Atlantic Avenue, Audubon, NJ, as well as offices located in Hamilton.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.