What is disorderly conduct in New Jersey?

In New Jersey, you can face criminal charges for disorderly conduct. Various types of improper behavior and offensive language may constitute disorderly conduct.

According to New Jersey law, the following acts count as improper behavior:

  • Fighting
  • Threatening
  • Violent or tumultuous behavior
  • Creating a dangerous condition without a legitimate reason

The purpose of these behaviors must be to cause or create a risk of public annoyance, inconvenience or alarm.

Offensive language is a broad category that includes language that is coarse, loud or abusive. In order to be guilty of disorderly conduct, you must use these words with the intent to or offend someone else or have a reckless disregard about the likelihood of causing offense.

The acts must take place in public for you to commit disorderly conduct. A place is public as long as members of the public or significant groups have access to it. This includes neighborhoods, apartment complexes, places of business, amusement parks, schools, highways, concert halls, sports stadiums, transport facilities and prisons.

Disorderly conduct is punishable by up to 6 months in jail. The statute of limitations is one year from the date of the crime.

If you face disorderly conduct charges, it may not end in a conviction. It may be possible to challenge the charges. Sometimes, defendants are able to claim self-defense in fighting cases. Another option is claiming the act takes place in a private place that is not open to the public. Claims of free speech may also work in some cases.

This information is not legal advice. It is solely for informational purposes.