Disorderly Persons Offenses

New Jersey Criminal Defense Attorney

Our Burlington County Criminal Lawyers Handle Disorderly Persons Charges


The most common non-motor vehicle charges heard in New Jersey Municipal Courts are disorderly persons offenses and petty disorderly persons offenses. Disorderly persons offenses in New Jersey can be embarrassing, but more importantly these charges can result in a criminal record that shows up in a criminal background check.

person breaking window

If you are facing a disorderly persons charge, you need the assistance of an experienced New Jersey criminal defense attorney. The dedicated Burlington County criminal lawyers at the Law Offices of Michele Finizio are extremely experienced and knowledgeable, and will provide you with exceptional legal advice and a solid criminal defense against disorderly persons charges. Our criminal lawyers are dedicated to achieving the best possible outcome for your case.

What is a Disorderly Persons Offense?


Disorderly persons offenses and petty disorderly persons offenses are prosecuted in Municipal Court.  Disorderly persons offenses include simple assault, shoplifting, disorderly conduct, criminal mischief or property damage under $500, resisting arrest, harassment, bad checks, lewdness, obstruction, possession of less than 50 grams of marijuana and drug paraphernalia.

The New Jersey code refers to violations of law in terms of “crime” or “offense”.  Whenever the code uses the term offense, it is referring to a disorderly persons or petty disorderly persons charge. A disorderly persons charge is considered to be an “offense,” and it is not considered to be a “crime.”  An individual arrested for a disorderly persons offense has no right to a grand jury, as these are non-indictable charges punishable by a maximum period of imprisonment of six (6) months.  However, a disorderly persons conviction still results in a criminal record.  Should you want to remove a disorderly persons charge from your record, you would be required to file an expungement application.

Penalties of Disorderly Persons Offenses

A Municipal Court judge can impose fines up to $1000 together with a possible prison term of up to 6 months.  Certain disorderly persons offenses also carry with them the mandatory loss of driving privileges, even if the offense had nothing to do with operating a motor vehicle.

Possible serious and long‑term consequences for a disorderly persons conviction include immigration issues, loss of employment and/or suspension or revocation of licenses such as a medical license or license to practice law.  Should you be convicted of a more serious crime in the future, your sentence could be more severe if you have a disorderly persons conviction on your criminal record.

If you have been charged with a disorderly persons offense, the most important thing you need to know is that a conviction will appear on a criminal background check.  It is extremely important that you retain an experienced New Jersey criminal defense attorney to insure that your complaint is downgraded to a Municipal Ordinance violation or dismissed altogether.  Do not take a disorderly persons charge lightly.