A disorderly conductcharge occurs when you behave improperly in public. This includes behaviors like physical fighting, creating dangers, and violent threats. Also, under state law, you could be found guilty of this charge for saying offensive, harassing, and abusive words. A disorderly conduct charge is usually a misdemeanor crime that can cover different actions. Often, it is charged along with other charges such as assault. While disorderly conduct is just a minor crime, it can lead to issues and stay on your record. That is why you may want to find the charge with the assistance of a skilled Lento Law Firm defense attorney.
More About Disorderly Conduct
Disorder conduct includes behavior meant to cause inconvenience, risk, and annoyance to the public. It includes making unreasonable noises on streets, creating hazardous conditions, obstructing traffic, being drunk in public, and others. The conduct can be associated with a lot of circumstances.
Moreover, a person can commit a disorderly conduct crime if they display violent behavior or create a hazard. Also, they can be held liable for this conduct if they use offensive language meant to offend sensibilities while they are in public. This includes shouting obscenities and can include verbal altercations, sexist or racist language, or insults.
Consequences of Disorderly Conduct
In New Jersey, disorderly conduct is a disorderly person’s offense, which may carry up to $1000, along with other costs and charges. Also, the court may order you to complete community service hours. A disorderly conduct conviction can also put you in prison for up to six months. No matter the significance of the crime, you must seek representation from a skilled criminal defense attorney.
The most significant penalty you could face should you be convicted of disorderly conduct in New Jersey is a permanent criminal record. Such a record will be visible to schools, employers, and other parties you may not want to access this information. If your record contains a conviction, you may not be able to get a professional license, land a job, or get into your desired school. As a defendant, in this case, you need to realize the importance of maintaining a clean record and avoiding a disorderly conduct conviction at all costs. Because of this, you must hire an experienced lawyer to defend you against the charges.
What the Prosecutor Should You to Prove You Guilty
You can only be found guilty of disorderly conduct when the prosecutor can prove things beyond a reasonable doubt. Because disorderly conduct charges can originate only from actions that occurred in public, the prosecution needs to show the setting happened in a public area. Also, they should show you intended to disturb the public or committed the act without regard to its consequences. A disorderly conduct charge does not cover accidental actions performed in a non-reckless way.
Furthermore, the prosecutor should show that you engaged in disorderly conduct by not behaving properly or by saying foul language. As they try to get a conviction based on this, they should show you engaged in fighting or threatening. You need to hire an experienced lawyer who is familiar with the particulars of disorderly laws and can defend you against the broad statute.
How a Lawyer Can Defend You
Your attorney will review the disorderly conduct charges and the evidence against you to assess your defense options. If your charges have to do with your participation in a protest, you can assert your constitutional rights. Sometimes, self-defense can be proven in the situation. Also, you can avoid a conviction if the prosecutor’s evidence against you is weak. A great defense lawyer can usually negotiate a favorable agreement with the prosecution to get thecharges dismissed or reduce them to borough or municipal ordinance violations. When you plead guilty to violating an ordinance, you avoid a permanent criminal charge on your record. You only have to pay a fine and your case is closed. Keep in mind that a permanent criminal record can make it hard to get employment.
Moreover, your attorney can recommend that you agree to an improvement program like anger management or alcohol abuse treatment. They could convince the prosecutor to drop the charges if you do so. An experienced criminal defense lawyer understands the statutes specific to the state and the different options you can explore. For example, if you are subject to a conditional discharge, they know such a penalty and its complications. And even if you have been repeatedly charged with disorderly conduct, they can argue for you in court. The defenses available to disorderly conduct charges are usually the same as misdemeanor defenses. These include the following:
- Involuntary intoxication. If you have committed disorderly conduct because of involuntarily intoxication, your attorney can use this as a defense. Voluntary intoxication may prevent you from building the intent necessary to commit the crime. It can happen when became intoxicated against your will such as when you were drugged. This defense to a disorderly conduct crime requires specific intent.
- Self-defense. If you use this defense, you must prove that you had to use a reasonable amount of force to protect yourself against a threat of violence. To effectively use this defense, you should show the amount of force you used should be proportionate to the threat level the aggressor posed.
- Duress. Your attorney can assert that you did not have the chance to avoid an immediate threat, forcing you to commit a certain crime.
- Necessity. You may plead necessity when you committed disorderly conduct to prevent a greater crime from taking place. Also, you may plead this defense when you had to commit such an act to address an emergency situation.
- Imperfect self-defense. You can use this defense when you sincerely thought that force was necessary to prevent injury, but this belief is unreasonable. For instance, you could say that you thought somebody was about to strike you.
Just because you are facing a disorderly conduct charge does not mean you just give up allow the charge to ruin your future. Sound counsel from a knowledgeable defense attorney can increase your chances of getting absolved of those charges.