Explaining disorderly conduct

The term disorderly conduct is something that many people have probably already heard. What they may not know, however, is what type of actions this term encompasses.

People need to understand how they should conduct themselves in public to avoid charges and penalties for a disorderly persons offense.

What qualifies as disorderly conduct?

According to FindLaw, there are two elements of a petty disorderly persons offense. These two elements have to do with language and behavior while out in public. Anyone who happens to engage in violent behavior, such as fighting, risks this charge on their record. This also applies to anyone who creates a situation that is particularly dangerous or hazardous in public.

Directing offensive language in public that specifically at someone else can also result in a disorderly persons offense. Generally speaking, this happens when someone is intentionally trying to offend someone else with loud, belligerent and abusive language.

What are the penalties for disorderly conduct?

There are two different types of disorderly conduct charges, one of which is a petty offense. As found in the New Jersey Court’s Sentencing Guide, a petty disorderly persons offense can result in a fine of up to $500 and jail time of no more than 30 days. A disorderly persons offense that is not marked as petty, however, may carry jail time of no more than six months and a fine of up to $1,000. When it comes to the sentencing laws, both the aforementioned charges are the lightest in both fines and jail time. Sentencing for subsequent crimes, however, will take these charges into consideration.