What is a disorderly persons offense?

Understanding Disorderly Persons Charges in New Jersey

Burlington NJ Disorderly Persons AttorneyIf you have been charged with a disorderly persons offense in New Jersey, you are likely wondering what this means. Is a disorderly persons offense a criminal charge? Is it a type of crime? What is a disorderly persons offense? In New Jersey, a disorderly persons offense is a classification of criminal offense similar to a misdemeanor. It is not technically a “crime,” also known as a felony. There are a vast array of offenses that fall under the category of disorderly persons offense in NJ, including possession of less than 50 grams of marijuana, simple assault, harassment, resisting arrest, criminal mischief (if property damage is $200 or less), and underage drinking. Here’s what you need to know if you’re arrested for a disorderly persons offense in South Jersey.

A Disorderly Persons Offense is Handled in Municipal Court

Unlike felony charges for first degree, second degree, third degree, and fourth degree crimes, disorderly persons cases are handled in the local municipal court where the charges were issued. So, if you’re charged with a disorderly conduct in Mount Holly, you will be required to appear in Mount Holly Municipal Court as opposed to Burlington County Superior Court. This is important for a variety of reasons. First of all, a municipal court case does not entitle you to a trial by jury. Your disorderly persons charge will be heard and decided by the presiding judge in the specific municipal court. Also, a disorderly persons charge is not punished by incarceration in New Jersey State Prison. Any imprisonment for a disorderly persons offense will be served in the county jail.

Penalties for Disorderly Persons Charges in New Jersey

If you are convicted of a disorderly persons offense in New Jersey, you face jail, fines, a criminal record, and a host of other potential penalties. Specifically, a DP offense exposes you to up to 6 months in the county jail and a maximum fine of $1,000. You may also be sentenced to pay court costs and fees, restitution to the victim, community service, probation, a period of driver’s license suspension, and the conviction will appear on a criminal background check. Under current NJ law, you are eligible to expunge a disorderly persons offense from your criminal record after five years from the last date of conviction, completion of probation, payment of fine, or the latest date on which the sentence was completed.

Diversionary Programs for Disorderly Persons Offenses

Depending on the specific disorderly persons offense you have been charged with, you may be able to have the charges dismissed by enrolling in a diversionary program. For example, conditional discharge is a program available to first-time offenders charged with disorderly persons drug offenses like marijuana possession and possession of drug paraphernalia. If you complete a period of probation and comply with program requirements, the charges against you are dismissed. Similarly, the conditional dismissal program allows a person with no prior criminal record to have a charge like shoplifting dismissed after a probationary term. A knowledgeable criminal defense attorney can examine your case to determine if you are eligible for a diversionary program in municipal court.

Burlington NJ Disorderly Persons Lawyers

At our criminal defense law firm, our highly experienced criminal defense lawyers regularly defend clients charged with disorderly persons offenses in Burlington County, Camden County, Gloucester County, and nearby areas. Mr. Fay, our firm’s founding attorney, has been defending clients against misdemeanor criminal charges in municipal courts in Evesham Township, Cinnaminson, Moorestown, Cherry Hill, Deptford, Washington Township, and throughout South Jersey. To find out how he can help you resolve your disorderly persons offense and move on with your life, contact our criminal defense law firm at 609-832-3202. We provide free consultations and are available anytime to assist you.


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"Excellent criminal defense lawyer"

"William handled a matter for me and exceeded my expectations. He was excellent in all areas of the law and achieved an outstanding result. Best of all,he demonstrates honesty and integrity. I would highly recommend William and already have."


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"I was so scared and nervous about my legal situation but Mr. Fay did an outstanding job with my case!!! I was so relieved with the outcome and he worked so hard for me! He was so calm and understanding and I’m so grateful for him. Thank you so very much for helping me! I am so grateful appreciative."


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"All Charges Dropped & Expunged"

"William defended me in my marijuana + paraphernalia case, he had all charges dropped and expunged! Despite the fact I was long past conditional discharges/probation, etc. He has a sharp wit and a bright future ahead of him as an attorney. Thanks again Will!"


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"Fantastic Lawyer"

"Mr. Fay is a fantastic lawyer. He helped me during a very stressful time in my life. He was knowledgeable about my case and what my options were. He answered all my questions and was very reassuring. He was there waiting for me at the entrance on my court date and made me feel at ease. He worked with the prosecutor to reduce my charges. I got the best outcome I could have hoped for. I highly recommend Mr. Fay if you need a lawyer."


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"Marijuana Charges"

"I was arrested and summoned to court for possession of marijuana, even though I didn't have any on me. It was my first time getting in trouble and I was terrified and nervous. Mr. Fay came into court prepared and was extremely assuring. He made it very clear that he was going to fight for my case until the very end. He was extremely knowledgable about my case and the ways to resolve it. I would recommend Mr. Fay to anyone who has gotten into trouble."

former client

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"Excellent lawyer. Highly recommended."

"Mr. Fay is extremely caring and knowledgeable. He took the time to explain the entire process in a very clear manner and was a tremendous help during a stressful time. He was always available to take a phone call and really showed that he cared about me and my case. I highly recommend Mr. Fay as an attorney." "

former client

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"Highly recommend"

"Great lawyer. Created a best possible outcome for my case."

former client

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"Amazing job, explains very clearly"

"He did a fantastic job on my case, making my penalty much less than I thought it could possibly be. He clearly understands what he is doing and can explain everything in a way that anyone can understand. Any questions I had were answered very clearly and he listened to all small details of my case."

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If you or someone you love has been charged with a criminal or DUI offense in New Jersey, finding the answers you need to make informed decisions is critical. Complete our contact form to request your free consultation or contact 609-832-3202

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