A bill has been passed by the New Jersey Senate that, if also passed by the New Jersey Assembly, would decriminalize smoking in public places where it has been banned.
Currently, smoking in a banned place in New Jersey constitutes a disorderly persons offense and those who violate the law face fines, the possibility of jail time, and a criminal record. The new legislation, which was proposed by New Jersey Senator Bob Gordon, would give towns the option to penalize offenders civilly instead of criminally, so that they will only be punished with fines.
This change may not be as helpful for law-breaking smokers as it would initially seem. Many law enforcement officials are reluctant to follow through with punishing those who violate New Jersey’s anti-smoking laws because they feel that it is overly harsh to give someone a criminal record just for smoking in the wrong place. If the proposed legislation passes, however, law enforcement will likely be more willing to punish errant smokers, resulting in a rise of smoking related fines.
A disorderly person’s offense in New Jersey carries lighter penalties than a felony. However, it can still have substantial consequences, including fines up to $1,000, a year behind bars, a criminal record, and the possibility of a suspended driver’s license.
If you or a loved one has been charged with a disorderly person’s offense, or any other criminal offense in New Jersey, it is recommended that you retain an attorney to fight the penalties and help you avoid a criminal record. The Rosenblum Law Firm is an reputable criminal defense firm in New Jersey with a record of successfully defeating disorderly person and other criminal charges. Contact Adam H. Rosenblum via email or call 1-888-979-7551 today for a free consultation about your case.