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New Jersey Disorderly Persons Offenses: Do You Really Need a Lawyer?

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.

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