New Jersey distinguishes between two levels of offenses: crimes and disorderly persons offenses. Both are violations of the law and punishable as such. But a disorderly persons offense is a lower level offense, and therefore treated differently.
A person accused of a disorderly persons offense — because it is a lesser violation than a crime — does not have all the legal protections of a person accused of a crime, such as the right to indictment by a grand jury, or the right to trial by jury. Disorderly persons offenses are usually tried before a municipal court judge.
The legal consequences of a disorderly persons offense are not as severe as those for a crime. A person convicted of a disorderly persons offense does not lose the right to vote and may still serve on a jury.
In spite of these differences, a disorderly persons offense remains a violation of the law, and carries with it penalties that can severely disrupt a person’s life. A judge can jail someone for up to six months for these offenses and can levy a fine of up to $1,000.
The financial pressure of a heavy fine and time spent in jail can have a negative effect on your job and family. It is important to mount a strong and well-planned legal defense if you are accused of a disorderly persons offense, just as you would if you were accused of a crime. The experienced defense attorneys at Hoffman Dimuzio are here to help you in your defense.