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3 Tips to Avoid Disorderly Conduct Charges on Halloween


Halloween is full of activities, whether they be costume contests, trick-or-treating, pranks or parties. That is why people do not waste the opportunity to make the most of this beloved holiday by participating in the fun. But sometimes, Halloween activities can come to an abrupt halt when actions and behaviors get “out-of-hand.” Maybe someone had too much to drink, a Halloween prank went awfully wrong or an angry parent was offended by a person’s behavior. As a result, disorderly conduct accusations may arise. It may not seem like a serious offense, but the law says otherwise.

In 2016 alone, 13,021 arrests for disorderly conduct were made in New Jersey, demonstrating the frequency of this offense and police officers’ commitment to stop it.

It’s impossible to please everyone every day, including on Halloween when you are simply trying to have a good time. Your elderly neighbor may think your music is too loud or a parent may be unsettled by your profane language while their children are trick-or-treating. No matter the situation, our Bergen County disorderly persons defense attorney has got your back. We know how to strategically negotiate with prosecutors to help get your disorderly conduct charges reduced or dropped altogether.

What Is Disorderly Conduct?

Disorderly conduct is also considered improper behavior. In New Jersey, you are guilty of a petty disorderly person’s offense, you purposely cause public inconvenience, annoyance or alarm, or recklessly create a risk thereof, by doing the following:

  • Engaging in fighting or threatening, or in violent or tumultuous behavior
  • Creating a hazardous or physically dangerous condition by any act which serves them no legitimate purpose

You may also get petty disorderly person’s offense charges for using offensive language. Specifically, you may be found guilty of a petty disorderly person’s offense if you address a person with unreasonably loud and offensively coarse or abusive language in a public place and with the purpose of offending the hearer, or in reckless disregard of the probability of so doing.

3 Ways to Best Prevent a Spooky Encounter with the Cops

To increase your chances of avoiding disorderly conduct charges on Halloween, our attorneys advise you to examine the following tips:

  • Be aware of your surroundings: Children go trick-or-treating on Halloween and flood the streets and sidewalks in search of candy. Thus, we advise you to be mindful of your words and actions around their parents, who will likely not appreciate any disorderly conduct near their children.
  • Drink responsibly: Drinking too much alcohol can bring out the worst in people and your peers may call 9-1-1 to get you arrested as a result. Thus, you may face disorderly conduct and even DWI charges if you’re not cautious. That’s why it can benefit you to rely on either a designated driver (“DD”) or a rideshare driver to take you home after a night out, as well as monitor your alcohol consumption to avoid an unwelcome encounter with the cops. We encourage you to have a fun but also safe Halloween, which includes avoiding fights, driving, violence and threatening others.
  • Surround yourself with positive influences: The unfortunate element of many disorderly conduct charges in New Jersey is that you may not have incited any unlawful behavior, but your friends did. Thus, your accusers may not have pointed fingers at you directly and instead blamed your friend group for disturbing the peace. That is why it can benefit you to associate with positive, well-behaved friends and family on Halloween.

Facing disorderly conduct charges in Bergen County? Please call the Law Offices of Joseph R. Donahue, LLC at (201) 574-7919 to learn how we can defend your charges!

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