Disorderly Conduct

In New Jersey and all across the United States, peaceful civil behavior is not just expected, it is legally enforced. The laws against disorderly conduct, also referred to as "breach of the peace" or "disturbing the peace," address a broad swath of actions and behaviors that are considered disruptive or undesirable. Even the most trivial action may be regarded as disorderly conduct if it is determined to be upsetting or obnoxious to the public. It is important to be aware of what exactly falls under this criminal law since the consequences of a conviction can be quite severe.

The New Jersey criminal defense attorneys at LS&P Lawyers provide clients with effective legal representation in both state and federal cases. We highly value our relations with our clients and regard communication and hard work as important virtues. As for our ability in the field of criminal law, our successful case history speaks for itself. To learn more about your case and legal options through a free consultation, call our office today at (908) 709-0500.

What is Considered Disorderly Conduct?

The general rule of thumb is to avoid behaving in a way that would get you kicked out of an establishment or immediately fired from a job. The state of New Jersey does not condone engaging in violent or threatening behavior, creating a dangerous situation for no reason at all, or cursing loudly in public. These restrictions are entirely sensible, almost logical. However, there are more specific behaviors that fall under disorderly conduct that you may not know, including the following:

  • Loitering while looking to sell or buy drugs
  • Obstructing a road, sidewalk, or highway
  • Disobeying an official order to clear the area of an emergency
  • Picketing a funeral or memorial service
  • Disrupting a lawful meeting or procession
  • Defacing any public monument, symbol, or place of worship or burial
  • Hindering the operation of a public transit vehicle

If an individual causes property damage or injury while hindering the operation of a public transit vehicle, he or she may face enhanced penalties.

It is also illegal to smoke in restricted areas, riot, and create a false alarm by inappropriately reporting an emergency when no such emergency is present.

What are the Penalties for Disorderly Conduct?

Hindering the operation of a public transit vehicle can be considered a second, third, or fourth degree crime if it results in property damage or injury. In the Garden State, second degree crimes can incur a prison sentence between five and 10 years and a fine up to $150,000; third degree crimes can incur a prison sentence between three and five years and a fine up to $15,000; and fourth degree crimes can incur a prison sentence of up to 18 months and a fine up to $10,000. Rioting is regarded as a third or fourth degree crime.

False alarm can also be treated as a second, third, or fourth degree criminal offense. In addition to these penalties, a conviction may also result in a civil fine of at least $2,000 and a license suspension for those under the age of 21.

Other crimes that fall under disorderly conduct are treated as either disorderly persons offenses or petty persons offenses. The former is punishable by a jail sentence of up to six months and a fine up to $1,000. The latter is punishable by a jail sentence of up to 30 days and a fine up to $500. Being caught smoking in a restricted area may result in a fine up to $200.

Helping You Navigate the Criminal Justice System

Contact LS&P Lawyers today and we will provide you with an honest evaluation of your case and tell you whether you have a chance at fighting the charges. If you decide to have us represent you, we will immediately get started on a customized legal strategy that meets your goals. If we are not able to attain you dropped charges, we will do our best to negotiate significantly reduced penalties. If you have any questions regarding your case, call our toll-free number (888) 847-2529.