Is a disorderly persons offense a crime in New Jersey?

When arrested, you may not understand how your offense will be classified under the law. Typically, crimes are identified as felonies, misdemeanors, or infractions. However, in New Jersey criminal offenses are categorized differently. They are categorized as indicatable crimes, disorderly persons offenses, and petty disorderly persons offenses. Disorderly persons offenses and petty disorderly persons offenses are similar to misdemeanors in other states. These offenses are often less serious. Additionally, indictable offenses are similar to felonies in other states. Disorderly persons offenses are not considered crimes, however, that does not mean a conviction cannot result in jail time. Regardless of the severity of the offense, they carry harsh penalties. Continue reading to learn more about disorderly persons offenses and discover how a skilled Bergen County Criminal Defense Attorney can help you navigate your legal options. 

What is a disorderly person’s offense in New Jersey?

In the state of New Jersey, certain low-level offenses are classified as disorderly persons offenses. According to New Jersey law, disorderly persons offenses and petty disorderly persons offenses are considered petty offenses. Therefore, they are not considered crimes. With that being said, those charged with disorderly persons offenses do not have a right to a jury trial.

Moreover, New Jersey disorderly persons offenses are punishable by six months’ jail time and a fine of up to $1,000. Certain offenses such as shoplifting under $200 and simple assault can be classified as disorderly persons offenses. Petty disorderly persons offenses are punishable by 30 days’ jail time and a fine of up to $500. Certain offenses such as disorderly conduct and trespassing are classified as petty disorderly persons offenses.

When it comes to the sentencing of disorderly persons offenses, after a judgment is made, the judge will enter the sentence. The law gives the court wiggle room when handing down sentences. There are several sentencing alternatives to jail time for disorderly persons offenses.

What sentencing alternatives are available?

In New Jersey, the court can offer those charged with disorderly persons offenses different sentencing alternatives to jail time. This includes pretrial intervention and Veterans Diversion programs. Essentially, these penalties focus more on rehabilitation. The Veterans Diversion Program offers treatment for mental health issues. Compliance with these programs is crucial to ensuring the dismissal of the charges. In addition, the court can offer a conditional dismissal program. However, this option is only offered to first-time offenders who have not already completed a similar program. If eligible, the program places the defendant on probation for a year in exchange for a guilty plea. The court can also offer a suspended sentence and probation. With this option, the sentence is suspended. However, the defendant must perform community service, complete weekend or evening jail time, or participate in an educational program. Essentially, this is conditional freedom. Finally, the court can offer expungement which seals records from public view.

Regardless of the conviction, it is always beneficial to have a seasoned Bergen County criminal defense attorney on your side. Certain offenses, even disorderly persons offenses, can result in serious penalties and repercussions that haunt you for a long time. Our firm will work tirelessly to help you achieve a favorable outcome. Allow us to defend your rights and interests today!