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Disorderly Conduct Charge - What should I do?

Atlantic City, NJ |
Filed under: Criminal defense

Basically, I got very drunk one night and I pushed a casino pit boss at the Taj in Atlantic City. I was cuffed by casino security and delivered to police and charged with disorderly conduct.

The court date was set for December, and when I went with my lawyer, the pit boss was there and said he would actually like to drop the charges, but he and the lawyer had to consult with Taj's in-house legal counsel. The legal counsel, however, did not want to drop the charges.

My next court date is soon, and I am very nervous. My lawyer keeps telling me that pleading guilty to this charge is not a misdemeanor or criminal offense in Atlantic City and will not affect my future employment, but I have read otherwise. Is he right? Is there anything else I can do in order to not get convicted of this charge?

Attorney Answers 4

Posted

It would be inappropriate for a lawyer in this forum based on the limited information provided to second-guess your lawyer.

A disorderly conduct charge pursuant to NJSA 2C:33-2 is a petty disorderly persons offense. A conviction would appear on a criminal background check, though it is not an indictable crime (New Jersey's equivalent of a felony). It is entirely possible you are charged with a different, though similar sounding, offense.

If you are uncomfortable with your lawyer, similar to a doctor, you should speak with him or her, and you are entitled to obtain a second opinion.

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Posted

I agree with Mr. Mark. Just to clarify, it appears your attorney is doing well for you but not fully explaining the situation. You need to ask your attorney about any amended charge.

It sounds like you are being offered a Municipal Ordinance, a town law. Ask your lawyer if this is so. If this is the case, the conviction (a guilty plea is a conviction) will not appear on the computer. The arrest will still be there if you were charged under the State Criminal Code, 2C (the charge might be 2C:33-2, disorderly conduct - a petty disorderly offense) but the conviction will not. That is because the computer does not have all the town laws in its memory, only the State laws. If you were only charged with a town ordinance the arrest may not be on the computer either.

If an employer asks if you were convicted of a "crime," you can answer "no." If they ask if you were ever arrested for or convicted of an "offense," you would have to answer "yes." If it is an ordinance, it can be expunged off your record after two years; if it is a State Code violation, you have to wait 5 years. Hope this helps.

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Posted

Why don't you make an appointment to meet with your attorney before going back to court? It sounds like your attorney worked out a deal where you will plead guilty to a municipal ordinance. If that is correct, you will not have "a record."

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Posted

I agree with the assessments of both of my colleagues. Discuss what they said with your lawyer, as it appears that as Mr. Cheser stated, that this confusion may be the result of a communications issue between the two of you. Good luck.

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