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De Minimus Infractions

Claiming That Conduct Is So Minor That No Criminal Charge Should Apply

In Monmouth County, New Jersey, not all charges will result in prosecution by the State. Depending on the circumstances, a charge for violating probation in Wall Township may be dismissed. These motions are called De Minimis Infractions, and they can be a lead to a positive outcome for any defendant. Whether or not the defendant is guilty is irrelevant. Typically, the charges are accepted as true and the assignment judge will rule on the State’s presentation of the facts of the case. Not all charges warrant prosecution and it is in your best interest to determine if your case warrants such a dismissal by contacting a Monmouth County attorney.

Procedurally, a motion to dismiss charges, pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2C:2-11 De Minimis Infractions, will be heard by the assignment judge at the Monmouth County Courthouse in Freehold.  County. This motion must occur prior to any trial or conviction. Accordingly, this will help reduce the financial costs associated with a drawn out trial. However, it should be noted that this type of a motion will not be allowed for charges regarding juvenile delinquency. There are only three circumstances under which a motion to dismiss as a De Minimis Infraction will be granted. These three circumstances are; (1) Customary License, (2) Not Cause or Threatened Harm (Trivial), and (3) Extenuating Circumstances.

How Does Someone Prove a De Minimis Infraction in NJ?

To succeed on a motion under N.J.S.A. 2C:2-11(a) “Customary License”, the conduct must have been within a customary license or tolerance, but not expressly negated by the victim nor inconsistent with the alleged criminal offense. This legalese may seem confusing at first glance. Contact one of our attorneys to find out if your conduct was within customary license or tolerance.

Under N.J.S.A. 2C:2-11(b) “Not Cause or Threatened Harm (Trivial)”, the assignment judge may dismiss the charges if the conduct did not actually cause or threaten the harm sought to be prevented by the law defining the offense or did so in a way that was too trivial to warrant a conviction. What constitutes “trivial” conduct is difficult to prove. Contact one of our attorneys to find out if your conduct did not cause actual harm or was too trivial..

The third and final situation under which a judge may dismiss charges as de minimis is N.J.S.A. 2C:2-11(c) “Extenuating Circumstances”. Here, extenuating circumstances must exist that could not have reasonably been foreseen by the legislature when they originally enacted the statute forbidding that type of conduct. The circumstances usually need to rise to the level of extraordinary or unanticipated to warrant application under this subsection. This statute might apply if a there is a restraining order violated in Neptune Township, but the reasoning for the violation was to prevent harm to one party.