Disorderly Persons Offense – NJSA 2C:1-4(b)

What is a Disorderly Persons Offense?


In the state of New Jersey, a disorderly persons offense is a lower tier criminal offense. Disorderly persons offenses are prosecuted in the Municipal Court of the municipality where the alleged offense occurred. A disorderly persons offense is similar to a “misdemeanor.” Generally, a “felony” is punishable by more than one year in prison. Disorderly persons offenses are punishable by less than one year in prison and include a fine. The maximum jail time that an accused will face is 6 months in prison. Generally speaking, the punishment for a disorderly persons offense is up to 6 months in jail and up to a $1,000 fine. A “petty disorderly persons” offense carries even lower penalties than a disorderly persons offense. One that is accused of a petty disorderly offense, such as disorderly conduct, faces up to 30 days in jail and up to a $500 fine.


What are Some Types of Disorderly Persons Offenses?


Disorderly persons offenses cover a wide range of conduct. Here are some examples:

  • Possession of Marijuana (under 50 grams)
  • Simple Assault
  • Trespassing
  • Shoplifting (less than $200)
  • Theft (less than $200)
  • Harassment
  • Criminal Mischief
  • Disorderly Conduct
  • Underage drinking


Should I hire an attorney?


Pursuant to NJSA 2C:1-4(b), a disorderly persons offense is not considered a crime. Even though it is not considered a crime, one who is accused of this offense may still be subject to an arrest, jail time, and a large fine. Conviction may lead to a criminal record which may have to be reported and college and job applications. Hire an attorney who will zealously advocate for your rights. Hiring an attorney puts you at a better chance of having this charge completely dismissed or amended to a lower violation.


If you have been accused of a disorderly persons or petty disorderly persons violation, call an experienced attorney today to provide the peace and clarity of mind you are looking for.



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