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Misdemeanors in Pennsylvania vs. Disorderly Person Offenses in New Jersey

Misdemeanors are the lowest level crimes in Pennsylvania, but they still carry with them significant consequences. If you get convicted of a misdemeanor, you will have a criminal record that will be discovered whenever a background check is performed. If you are charged with a misdemeanor, you still need an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side to defend your rights.

What is a misdemeanor in Pennsylvania?

In Pennsylvania, misdemeanors are divided up into three distinct categories, each with maximum penalties which include jail sentences and/or fines:

  • Misdemeanor 3 (M3) – This includes disorderly conduct, harassment, lewdness, loitering, simple assault, possession of marijuana, shoplifting. It carries penalties of six months to a year in jail and up to $2,500 in fines.
  • Misdemeanor 2 (M2) – This includes reckless endangerment, making a false police report, impersonating a public servant and bigamy. It carries a jail term of one to two years and fines of up to $5,000.
  • Misdemeanor 1 (M1)This includes making terrorist threats, indecent assault, endangering the welfare of a child, bookmaking and prostitution. It carries a jail term of up to five years in prison and fines of up to $10,000.

These are just general guidelines to give you an example of the kinds of penalties you could get if you have been charged with a misdemeanor. The court will take several factors into consideration, including whether or not you have any prior offenses, the seriousness of the crime and the circumstance of the case.

What is a disorderly person offense in New Jersey?

New Jersey refers to misdemeanors as disorderly person offenses and petty disorderly person offenses (DP):

  • Petty disorderly person offenses include the possession of less than 50 grams of marijuana, shoplifting, harassment, disorderly conduct, resisting arrest, lewdness and passing bad checks. The penalties include a jail sentence of up to six months and a fine of up to $500 plus court fees.
  • Disorderly person offenses include simple assault, disorderly conduct, property damage, shoplifting, criminal mischief and others. Penalties include a jail sentence of up to six months, and a fine of up to $1,000 plus court fees.

Disorderly person offenses are handled in the local municipal court in the jurisdiction in which you were charged. Even a conviction for a disorderly person offense will become a part of your criminal record. This can bar you from receiving federal financial aid for education, and limit your employment and housing prospects.

If you have been charged with a misdemeanor, you can face serious consequences if you do not hire the right criminal defense attorney. At the Law Offices of David Jay Glassman, we offer a compassionate approach with our clients while we aggressively defend their rights in the judicial system. Call the Law Offices of David Jay Glassman at 215-563-7100 or contact us online today for a qualified assessment of your case.