The difference between indictable offenses and disorderly persons offenses

In the State of New Jersey, offenses are characterized at indictable offenses and disorderly persons offenses rather than felonies and misdemeanors. Generally speaking, an indictable offense is more serious and similar to a felony and therefore carries a more severe penalty of over 6 months in jail. A disorderly persons offense is usually a more minor offense similar to a misdemeanor that carries a less severe penalty.

Regarding assault and battery charges, they can fall into the category of indictable offenses or disorderly persons offenses depending on the unique situation of the case. Cases of simple assault will carry a minor sentence while aggravated assault will carry one more severe. The severity of the penalty will take the following into account:

  • The seriousness of the injury.
  • If you were acting purposely – i.e. causing the injury on purpose rather than accidentally.
  • If you were acting knowingly – i.e. knowing that your action would cause the injury
  • If you were acting recklessly – i.e. being aware that your actions could cause injury but acting regardless.
  • If you were acting with extreme indifference towards human life – i.e. acting regardless of the high probability of severe injury.
  • If you were using a deadly weapon, for example a firearm, knife, brick or any object that can reasonably be assumed to be used as a weapon.

What happens if you are charged with an indictable offense? 

Indictable offenses are handled by the Superior court within the country where the alleged offense was committed. Once charged, you will be taken before a judge and advised of your rights and the charges against you – but you will be unable to enter a plea at this stage. You will be able to apply for bail at this point.

Before your case can go to trial, it has to be reviewed by a Grand Jury. This process is simply to determine whether or not there is enough evidence for your case to go to trial, it does not determine your guilt or innocence.

If the Grand Jury decides that there is enough evidence against you for the charges to go forward, formal charges will be filed in a process known as your arraignment where you will be able to enter a plea. At this point, you will be able to enter a plea bargain that, if both parties accept the arrangement, will be the end of your case.

If your case does not result in a plea agreement, it will proceed to a trail by jury. After your trial is complete, a verdict will be decided upon. After this point, you may decide to challenge your sentence and the verdict in an appeal.

Sentences can include up to 10 years of jail time and fines of up to $150,000.

What happens if you are charged with a disorderly persons offense? 

Although disorderly persons offenses are more minor, it is important to know that they can carry stiff fines and jail time and, if convicted, the charges will show up on a criminal background check.

Once you have been charged with a disorderly persons offense, your case will be heard in a municipal court in front of a judge, as there are no Grand Juries or trials by jury for these cases. This may involve multiple appearances in court before the matter is resolved and a verdict is handed out.

Sentences in these cases can include probation, a fine of up to $1,000 and jail time of up to 6 months behind bars.

Speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney to protect your rights 

If you have been charged with an offense, no matter how minor, you can benefit from effective legal representation. Dennis Calo, a former prosecutor, offers over 40 years of experience and insight into both sides of the legal system to build a strong and robust defense for each of his valued clients.

If you want a criminal defense attorney that you can trust to defend your assault and battery case professionally and aggressively, contact us today and find out how Dennis Calo can help you. For more information, visit


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What is considered domestic abuse?

In the State of New Jersey there are very strict laws regarding domestic abuse or domestic violence. Here is a guide to these laws from a leading NJ criminal defense attorney.

Who can be a victim of domestic violence?

Domestic violence laws only apply in certain circumstances, that is, when an adult or emancipated minor commits an offense against a person who meets the state’s criteria for being a domestic violence victim. In New Jersey, these include people who are:

  • Current or former spouses who are 18 years old or more/an emancipated minor
  • Current or former household members who are 18 years old or more/an emancipated minor
  • The parent of a child (or someone expecting a child) with the perpetrator
  • Dating or former romantic partners of the perpetrator or present or former household members

What charges are covered by domestic violence?

If it is established that the victim fits the criteria of a domestic violence victim, the following charges can be brought under domestic violence law:

  • Homicide
  • Assault
  • Kidnapping
  • False imprisonment
  • Criminal restraint
  • Terroristic threats
  • Sexual assault
  • Sexual contact
  • Lewdness
  • Criminal mischief
  • Burglary
  • Criminal trespass
  • Harassment
  • Stalking

Each of these charges will carry a different sentence or penalty based on the severity of the crime and the unique circumstances of the case, ranging from probation jail time and fines to lengthy jail time.

What powers do law enforcement have in instances of alleged domestic violence?

Police and law enforcement have considerable powers in situations of perceived domestic violence. They are under obligation to arrest a suspect and file a complaint in situations where a person claims to be a victim of domestic violence (and the officer has sufficient evidence to believe the claim), where the victim has visible signs of injury, where there is an arrest warrant out/a restraining order has been violated and if a weapon was used.

If both parties are claiming domestic violence abuse against them, then other factors will come into play including the different levels of injury and their history of domestic violence.

What should I do if I have been charged with domestic violence?

Domestic abuse crimes are serious in nature and carry severe penalties, so it is essential that you contact an experienced criminal defense attorney with a background in domestic violence cases if you have already been charged or suspect that you will be.

Dennis Calo is a highly respected and successful criminal defense attorney in New Jersey with over 40 years of experience. As a former prosecutor, he understands both sides of his cases and is able to provide clients with the best possible defense against a wide range of charges, including domestic violence.

If you want a criminal defense lawyer that you can trust to defend your case professionally and aggressively, contact us today and find out how Dennis Calo can help you or visit for more information.


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