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wallstreetesq
wallstreetesq, Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 15978
Experience:  10 years Experience, have tried several high profile felony cases and misdemeanors
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I got arrested last night my charge was Disorderly Person offense

Customer Question

I got arrested last night my charge was Disorderly Person offense 2C:14-4A. I have to go to court on March 18th. I know I should plea not guilty, I will be using a lawyer given to me by the court. However Is this charge going to go on my permanent record ? Will I be charged as a criminal? Or what should I do when I plea not guilty? I know I have to pay court fines, but what plea bargain can I get out of this? I am super scared this is my first offense, I have never been in trouble with the law before.
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Law Pro replied 5 years ago.
What state are you in?
Expert:  wallstreetesq replied 5 years ago.
A disorderly person offense seems to be the same as a disordly conduct charge which is usually considered a violation a non criminal arrest charge, you should plead not guilty, however make sure your lawyer advises you if their is an offer where they will dismiss the charge for community service

I would try to get it dismissed as this is a first time offense case
wallstreetesq, Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 15978
Experience: 10 years Experience, have tried several high profile felony cases and misdemeanors
wallstreetesq and 5 other Criminal Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Thank you for writing back...I am not sure if I would like to do community service, I would ask anyway.

What do you think the fine would be for a first offender? I have been looking on the internet and it says $1000.00 or 6 months in jail. I hope that is not the case
Expert:  Law Pro replied 5 years ago.
What state are you in or what state are you being charged in?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
NJ
Expert:  Law Pro replied 5 years ago.

Enacted as part of the New Jersey Code of Criminal Justice in 1978, and thereafter amended in 1992, the lewdness statute presently provides in full:

a. A person commits a disorderly persons offense if he does any flagrantly lewd and offensive act which he knows or reasonably expects is likely to be observed by other nonconsenting persons who would be affronted or alarmed.

 

b. A person commits a crime of the fourth degree if:


(1) He exposes his intimate parts for the purpose of arousing or gratifying the sexual desire of the actor or of any other person under circumstances where the actor knows or reasonably expects he is likely to be observed by a child who is less than 13 years of age where the actor is at least four years older than the child.

(2) He exposes his intimate parts for the purpose of arousing or gratifying the sexual desire of the actor or of any other person under circumstances where the actor knows or reasonably expects he is likely to be observed by a person who because of mental disease or defect is unable to understand the sexual nature of the actor's conduct.

c. As used in this section:


"lewd acts" shall include the exposing of the genitals for the purpose of arousing or gratifying the sexual desire of the actor or of any other person.

 

[N.J.S.A. 2C:14-4.]

 

Lewdness, then, can be either a disorderly persons offense or a fourth-degree crime. The disorderly persons offense is committed when the actor engages in "any flagrantly lewd and offensive act," which may include exposing of the actor's genitals, under circumstances such that the actor "knows or reasonably expects is likely to be observed by other non-consenting persons who would be affronted or alarmed." N.J.S.A. 2C:14-4a. Lewdness becomes a fourth-degree crime when it involves exposure of intimate parts for the purpose of sexual arousal or gratification where the actor knows or reasonably expects that he is likely to be seen by a child less than thirteen years or by a victim who suffers from a mental disease or defect that makes that victim unable to understand the sexual nature of the actor's conduct. N.J.S.A. 2C:14-4b(1),(2).

While lewdness, within the meaning of N.J.S.A. 2C:14-4, must involve exposure of intimate parts for the purposes of the fourth-degree offense criminalized in subsection b, such exposure is not a necessary element of the disorderly persons offense criminalized in subsection a. State v. Zeidell, 154 N.J. 417, 430 (1998). Cf. State v. Breitweiser, 373 N.J. Super. 271, 285 (App. Div. 2004), certif. denied, 182 N.J. 628 (2005). Fourth-degree lewdness "is limited to exposing or displaying an actor's intimate parts rather than touching them." State v. Zeidell, supra, 154 N.J. at 431. On the other hand, sexual contact, such as masturbation, when committed "in the view of" a child who is less than thirteen years old, and where the actor is at least four years older than the child, will constitute second-degree sexual assault criminalized by N.J.S.A. 2C:14-2b. Ibid. See also State v. Breitweiser, supra, 373 N.J. Super. at 286-87; State v. Ridgeway, 256 N.J. Super. 202, 206 (App. Div.), certif. denied, 130 N.J. 18 (1992). Such touching, i.e., masturbation, may also provide a basis for third- or fourth-degree sexual contact criminalized by N.J.S.A. 2C:14-3, where the additional elements required thereby exist.

 

What happened in your case - what are they saying you did?

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
He exposes his intimate parts for the purpose of arousing or gratifying the sexual desire of the actor or of any other person under circumstances where the actor knows or reasonably expects
Expert:  Law Pro replied 5 years ago.
So - basically you "flashed" someone - correct?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I was in a public bathroom and the police were doing a "sting operation" and arrested a bunch of men...and I was one of them. I was charged and released within 1 hour.
Expert:  Law Pro replied 5 years ago.

Were you "exposed"?

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Yes I was. The office that booked me told me that since this was my first offense...that I had just had to pay a fine. I have been told to plead not guilty.

The office told me that I can plead guilty or not guilty. I am confused because if I broke the law How can I go in front of a judge and lie? I do know that If i say i am not guilty they will lesser the charge
Expert:  Law Pro replied 5 years ago.

This can also be considered a "summary offense" - which is only a fine and no court record - like a speeding ticket. Do you know which it is? If it's a summary offense situation - then you would be crazy to not just pay the fine and go away.

 

I would retain counsel in this matter because you don't seem to know what's going on here. It can be clearly a summary offense and you go away. If it's a misdemeanor - then most assuredly you don't want this on your record and should fight the charges - very likely they will drop the charges to a summary offense if requested by retained counsel in the matter.

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
What other information would you like to know about the summons? Are there any numbers that you need from the ticket?
Expert:  Law Pro replied 5 years ago.

No, I'm just not sure if you know if it's a summary offense or a misdemeanor. There's obviously a big difference between the two charges and the ramifications thereon.

 

It now seems to me that this is a summary offense just like the officer described to you - pay your fine and go - no sense battling over this.

 

I would recommend you take the "ticket" and go to a local attorney's office and make sure of your charges or offenses.

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Can I call the phone number that is on the ticket? Do you think the court will tell me if its a misdemeanor or a summary offense?
Expert:  Law Pro replied 5 years ago.
Yes, the clerk/secretary should inform you of at least that.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
OK I just got off the phone with the clerks office. ( she was dumb....I knew more than her) I asked her if it was a misdemeanor or a summary offense. All she kept saying was its a Disorderly its a disorderly its a disorderly. I guess they are trained to say that.

She told me that the fine could be up to $1000.00 or 6 months in jail...it depends on the judge.
Expert:  Law Pro replied 5 years ago.

Then it's a misdemeanor - you can't be sentenced to jail time for a summary offense.

 

I would then retain counsel to go with me to the hearing. I would do everything I could to get the matter reduced to a summary offense - no court record then of the matter.

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
So I have to plead not guilty? How much do you charge for your services to go with me to court?
Expert:  Law Pro replied 5 years ago.

I can't - we aren't allowed to operate with the customers outside of this venue. Sorry.

 

Yes, I would certainly and definitely plead NOT guilty.

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
<p>If you plead guilty then there is no trial and the court will decide the punishment you deserve immediately. <br />If you plead not guilt, a trial will be held and a jury will be appointed to hear both sides of the argument and decide if they think you are or are not guilty. If they decide you are guilty you will be punished. </p><p> </p><p>How can I get away with this? I am guilty.....but I want to plead not guilty</p>
Expert:  Law Pro replied 5 years ago.

Correct. Except you don't necessarily have to have a jury - a judge can decide the matter unless you opt for a jury.

 

I think you need representation to go talk to the police officer and the judge to see what, if any, deal can be made on your behalf.

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I just wanted to Thank you for putting me at ease. Thank you so much. I have one more question...If the judge brings the charges down to a summary offense, and in the future if a police officer asks me "Have you ever been arrested before"? What do I say?
Expert:  Law Pro replied 5 years ago.
Then say - NO. A summary offense isn't something your normally arrested for and they record will be erased anyway.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Even though they read me my miranda rights and handcuffed me and finger printed me and took my mugshots? I even had to sit in a cell block for 30 mins.
Expert:  Law Pro replied 5 years ago.

There may be a record then of the arrest. However, the matter would then show resolved as a summary offense - much different than misdemeanor offense.

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