A petty disorderly persons and disorderly person charge is one that, in general, carries a maximum jail sentence of less than one year. It is also known as a misdemeanor. In New Jersey, the term misdemeanor is synonymous with disorderly person. A disorderly person conviction may also result in fines and penalties, as well as the risk of losing professional licensure or difficulty obtaining employment in the future. As part of your defense, your criminal defense attorney may advocate for alternative sentencing measures, including probation, or community service. Your attorney will also fight to keep the conviction off of your official criminal history; this is particularly important if you need a clean record to maintain or obtain employment in your particular field. There is also an expungement process that you can avail yourself of. As your attorney, Ms. Alcalde can navigate the entire process from defense, negotiated plea, to final expungement – if necessary.
Disorderly Person crimes are less serious in nature than felonies and generally do not involve extreme violence or extensive property damage. First or second DUI charges, simple assault related to domestic disputes, petty theft (e.g., shoplifting) or improper behaviors are all examples of these type of low level crimes. However, multiple and repeated charges for the same crime could eventually result in a felony charge and possible lengthy jail time or hefty fines. For example, a third DWI conviction results in loss of license for ten years and substantial fines in the thousands of dollars in New Jersey. A theft crime may be classified as a felony if the value of the stolen item is in excess of a certain dollar amount, in New Jersey that amount is $500. All of these types of criminal offenses have devastating consequences for those holding professional licenses and for non-citizens of the United States.
Although a first-time defendant may seek representation by a public defender or may be tempted to try and defend the charges pro se, this is unwise for a number of reasons and could result in an unnecessary conviction when an ample defense may have been available. A conviction for a non-citizen of the United States could have unimaginable consequences, leading to their prolonged detention and eventual deportation from the United States. When you first meet Ms. Alcalde, you will discuss your pedigree, the facts surrounding your arrest and charge(s), including the events leading up to the incident and any mischaracterizations you believe were made by the arresting officers. Preparation for your trial may include any of the following:
- Interviewing witnesses and preparing witnesses to testify;
- Requesting an expert evaluation – as it relates to Alcohol and Drug related offenses
- Reviewing lab reports or the details of a field sobriety test;
- Speaking with arresting officers and examining the details contained in the arrest report;
- Negotiating with the prosecutor to obtain a dismissal or reduction in charges;
- Offering an alternative sentencing arrangement to include rehabilitative treatment, or;
- Arguing for the suppression of certain evidence obtained in violation of your constitutional rights.
A criminal defense attorney cannot guarantee any particular outcome for your disorderly persons case, but certain factors may make it more likely that you will obtain a favorable result. For instance, if this is your first brush with the law or it has been a number of years since your last conviction, this factor could gain you favor with the judge. Also, in cases involving drugs or alcohol, successful completion of a rehabilitative or treatment program could result in a dismissal or expungement of your arrest or conviction record. Michele is a former Municipal Court Prosecutor for the Cities of Newark and Paterson, New Jersey. Her experience in the Municipal Courts of the State of New Jersey, makes her uniquely qualified to appropriately guide and explain to clients the immigration consequences of criminal charges in this type of court setting. She represents clients throughout New Jersey and counsels non-citizen clients on the impact a conviction could have on their immigration interests in the United States. She has handled numerous ICE mandatory detention matters and appears frequently in Immigration Courts fighting for the release of her detained clients.
If you were recently arrested or charged with a disorderly persons offense, contact our firm as soon as possible so that we can schedule an appointment for you to speak with Ms. Alcalde. At the first consultation she will begin to formulate effective defense strategies to protect your rights and livelihood.