Linden Disorderly Conduct Offenses
May 13, 2020
Disorderly Conduct Attorney in Linden NJ
As a busy city, there are many places in Linden where people may be within ear shot, providing cause for disorderly conduct charges if improper behavior or offensive language occurs. Contrary to popular belief, a charge of disorderly conduct is not simply a “summons” or a “ticket” that you can pay online and forget about. In fact, disorderly conduct is a petty disorderly persons offense that requires you to attend Linden Municipal Court and answer to the charges. If you cannot resolve your case, it may proceed to trial against an experienced municipal prosecutor. If convicted, you face a jail sentence of up to 30 days, a fine of up to $500, and a criminal record. When facing charges for disorderly conduct in the city of Linden, an experienced attorney can make the difference between going home with an ordinance violation, dismissal of the charges, or you ending up with a permanent mark against you on a background check that cannot be removed for at least the next five years. If you have been charged with disorderly conduct in Linden NJ, contact our local office at (908) 838-0150 for immediate assistance with your defense. Our Linden disorderly conduct lawyers have the skill and familiarity to successfully resolve your case in the best manner possible.
Facing Charges for N.J.S.A. 2C: 33-2 in Linden
Disorderly conduct is a petty disorderly persons offense that is designed to protect public order. Think about the old saying: if a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it, did it really make a sound? The same applies to disorderly conduct. First, in order to commit an act of disorderly conduct, you must be in a public area. Second, there must be someone around to witness, hear, and be offended by the conduct in question. Specifically, under subsection (a) of N.J.S.A. 2C: 33-2, you may be convicted if the court finds that you caused “public, inconvenience, annoyance, or alarm” by committing an act of improper behavior. Improper behavior can take on multiple meanings. However, the law makes it an offense under section (a) to fight with anyone, behave violently or threateningly, cause a dangerous situation, or cause any disturbance while in public. Essentially, anything you do that causes a breach of the public’s peace can provide grounds for a disorderly conduct charge. Similarly, under section (b), if you engage in speech that is objectively offensive to those around you, you may be charged with this violation of New Jersey’s Criminal Code.
Again, if there is no one around whose overall peace and enjoyment is impacted by your conduct, then you should be found not guilty. For example, in State v. Stampone, the court found that Defendant did not commit an act of disorderly conduct because there was no one in the vicinity to witness the behavior, except for a police officer. In that case, an officer asked the defendant for his driver’s license while parked on a public street. The defendant told the officer that he was waiting for his friend to arrive home at 5 pm. The officer claimed that recent burglaries in the area caused him to be concerned. Initially, the driver refused to provide his license and a verbal exchange ensued between the officer and the driver. At some point, the defendant gave the officer his driver’s license and tried to shut his car door and in doing so, nearly slammed the officer’s foot in the door. The defendant in this case was initially convicted in Municipal Court for the offense, but on appeal, the Appellate Division overturned the conviction, finding that to be found guilty, the alleged improper behavior must have offended the public in some way. Specifically, the court found that there were no “passersby” who were impacted by Defendant’s conduct and that simply irritating the officer without more, would not constitute a violation of the offense. If there were people around, other than the officer, that were objectively offended by his behavior, the prosecutor would have had a better argument in support of a conviction.
How does the Prosecutor Prove Disorderly Conduct in Linden NJ?
Offensive behavior while in the public domain is more readily proven when the acts are so egregious that it is obvious that an offense was committed. For example, if you:
- Physically fight with someone or attempt to do so;
- Engage in a verbal altercation that is loud or offends the public;
- Engage in violent behavior such as swinging a weapon around while yelling;
- Create a dangerous situation like interrupting traffic, walking in the middle of the road amidst cars, scaling a building, etc.;
- Cause others to be alarmed by your behavior that serves no purpose i.e. smashing windows, breaking things, screaming at fast food workers;
- Disturb the peace while under the influence of any substance in a public place.
Charged with Disorderly Conduct in Linden, Now What?
If you have been accused of disorderly conduct in Linden, your case will be heard in the Linden Municipal Court located at 301 North Wood Avenue. There, you will be permitted to retain an attorney, make a deal, or have a trial. In some cases, a motion to suppress evidence or dismiss the charges may apply. Ultimately, if you are convicted of the petty disorderly persons offense of disorderly conduct, you may face one or more of the following consequences. The judge may impose a maximum jail sentence of 30 days, fine you up to $500, place you on probation, and require you to pay court costs and fees.
Linden NJ Disorderly Conduct Defense Lawyers can Help
Our attorneys are familiar with the various methods to effectively defend against disorderly conduct charges and we have been representing clients in Linden Municipal Court for years. With our help, you can trust that you are in a favorable position to obtain a better result. For example, our attorneys will review the evidence to determine if the facts fit the crime. After a review, we will meet with the prosecutor and discuss your case to limit your overall exposure to a potentially negative sentence. In some cases, the state may agree that the charge does not meet with the statutory requirements and the complaint may be dismissed. In other cases, we are able to have the charges downgraded to a municipal ordinance. In doing so, you may avoid any reflection of this petty disorderly persons offense on your record, simultaneously avoiding jail and increased fines. While in other cases, we will conduct a trial and vehemently defend the charges against you.
Regardless of the circumstances, we discuss the case with our clients, keeping them informed and educated as to the facts of the case, the nature of the charges, and the top available options. For more information and our assistance defending a Linden disorderly conduct case, contact us at (908) 838-0150 today. Consultations are always provided at no cost to you.