Some states have their own unique designations for petty crime which involve less damage and are punishable by smaller fines and perhaps some short imprisonment time. In New Jersey these are still considered crimes but not classified as either misdemeanors of felonies. The state legislators have seen fit to classify them under a petty crime context.
This is relevant to arrest or trial, and perhaps some bailable jail time when and if an arrest occurs. The disorderly persons offense NJ is crime that are seen to be less premeditated and more about people simply not being too reasonable in terms of the laws and regulations of places here. These are too petty to be considered really serious crimes.
Repeat offenses though can be treated more seriously. The maximum jail time could last up to six months in instances which require them, and the fines vary from 500 to several thousands of dollars, depending on the judge and jury. Most sentences here could be commuted or reduced to minimum through plea bargaining sessions.
These are cases processed through the municipal courts, and the accused or arrested persons need to be represented by their attorneys. This could range from possession of marijuana in smaller amounts. Less than 50 grams is considered unlawful but not felonious conduct, and the laws here are not relaxed where this drug is concerned.
Other concerns could include resisting arrest, the circumstances of which are non violent. Resisting could be defined as arguing with an arresting officer and doing no other stuff. When resistance turns violent, chances are that it could lead to more complex and aggravated charges for assault and battery when applicable.
There are also things that are related to petty theft, which is shop lifting in this case. These could all be pardonable offenses after some fines are met. But there is a side to these which require some jail time, although, again, your lawyer can really have these reduced to the point of nullity, which can be a good thing.
Their is also simple assault, without the use of weapons. Fisticuffs that are non deadly in nature could happen all the time. Although the persons involved will often be both jailed unless the other one is part of the security personnel of a commercial establishment or officers of the law who confront the accused.
The law in this part of the country is more enlightened in processing such crimes under a PD charge. It also serves justice to those who are not typical wrongdoers and may only have been forced to act that way under mitigating circumstances. The thing about these is that they are not complex crimes that might lead to aggravation and more serious charges.
Your lawyer could argue his way out for you, and this means that the jury process could be shorter. He could also go for an out of court settlement when at all possible. Fines are heavier this way, but you could avoid some jail time that pertains, but repeat offenses, again, could lead to higher charges.