As you probably know, there are two types of criminal charges in the United States: felonies and misdemeanors.
- Misdemeanors are typically less severe offenses punishable by a fine of one year in jail.
- Felonies, on the other hand, are much more serious crimes that can result in a prison sentence of more than one year.
There is a third category of a criminal offense in some states known as a Disorderly Person Offense (DPO). A DPO is a misdemeanor in New Jersey and is punishable by up to six months in jail or a penalty committing disorderly persosn offense. To be convicted of a DPO, the prosecution must prove that you knowingly committed an act that disturbed the peace or decorum of the community.
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It can include something as minor as playing music too loudly or using offensive language in public.
It is important to note that you do not have to intend to disturb the peace to be convicted of a DPO. Simply acting in a way that is likely to disturb others can result in a conviction.
Below are things to do after committing such as offense:
1- Hire an attorney
With a legal expert on your side, you will have a much better chance of getting the charges reduced or dismissed.
2- Avoid Pleading Guilty
Even if the evidence against you is strong, do not plead guilty without speaking to an attorney first.
3- Negotiate a Plea Deal
If the evidence against you is overwhelming, your attorney may be able to negotiate a plea deal with the prosecutor. It could involve pleading guilty to a lesser charge in exchange for a lighter sentence.
4- Go to Trial
If you choose to go to trial, your attorney will work tirelessly to try and get a not guilty verdict.
While there is no guarantee of success, it is essential to remember that you have the right to a trial by jury.
What are the consequences of a disorderly person’s offense charges?
There are some potential consequences that you may face if you are convicted of a disorderly person’s offense.
- Jail Time
You may be sentenced to up to six months in jail if convicted of a disorderly person’s offense.
In addition to or instead of jail time, you may be ordered to pay a fine of up to $1,000.
You may be placed on probation after you are released from jail.
Probation typically involves meeting with a probation officer regularly and obeying all laws.
- Community Service
You may be ordered to perform community service as part of your sentence.
You may be required to pay restitution to the victim or victims of your crime.
It could involve paying for damages that you caused or reimbursement for theft or property damage.
- Anger Management Classes
You may be ordered to attend anger management classes or counseling as part of your sentence.
- Driver’s License Suspension
You may have your driver’s license suspended if you are convicted of a disorderly person’s offense.
The above are things you should do after being charged with a DPO. If you have any questions or need help, please contact an experienced criminal defense attorney.