Under N.J. Stat. § 2C:45-1.b.(6), one of the standard terms of criminal probation that may be imposed in New Jersey is:

To refrain from frequenting unlawful or disreputable places or consorting with disreputable persons;

I'm having a little difficulty understanding what criteria would have to be met for a person to be considered "disreputable" enough for probationers in New Jersey to be obligated to avoid "consorting" with them. The term does not appear to be defined in New Jersey statutes. It (or similar phraseology) appears in the statutes of some other jurisdictions, so I suspect that it is a legal term of art with a specific meaning rather than a vague admonition against socializing or doing business with the kinds of people that my parents warned me about.

The most obvious and reasonable definition would be someone with a criminal record, but if that is the case, it would make more sense for the statute to just come out and say it rather than use a less clear term. It would also be unclear if any criminal record qualifies a person as being disreputable or if the determination is based on the recency and/or severity of the criminal conduct (e.g. multiple felony sexual assaults of a child in the past year versus one misdemeanor expired fishing license rap from 1972).

What is the definition of a "disreputable person" under New Jersey law? Specifically, is it defined in terms of objective criteria (e.g. more than X felony convictions in the past Y years) or is it based on a subjective ("whole person") analysis with multiple areas of inquiry (e.g. criminal record, general attitude, personality traits, credit rating, history of losing civil lawsuits, professional ethics violations not amounting to criminal conduct, whether they are currently suspended from Law Stack Exchange, life accomplishments, neighborhood rumor and gossip, etc.)?

To be clear, I am asking if this term is defined or has a generally accepted legal meaning, not asking for personal advice. I am not personally on probation in New Jersey, and if I was, I would address this question to my lawyer and/or probation officer rather than the Internet.

If this term has been defined in another jurisdiction under circumstances where a New Jersey court would be likely to adopt a similar definition, I would accept that as an answer.

An answer might look something like this:

In the New Jersey Supreme Court case Smith v. State [cite], "disreputable person" was defined as any person with two or more felony convictions in the past ten years or who was convicted of an offense requiring sex offender registration regardless of how long ago. It was specifically held that evidence that Probationer's consort had had his nursing license revoked for professional misconduct six months prior to consorting with Probationer was entirely irrelevant and inadmissible as evidence of disreputability for purposes of revocation as no criminal conviction had resulted from said conduct.

1 Answer 1


It refers to whoever the judge reasonably says it refers to. The referent of that specific clause N.J.S.A. 2C:45-1(b)(6) is not analyzed in any court ruling that I have been able to locate, but case law such as State v. Krueger, 241 N.J. Super. 244 has addressed other discretionary provisions of the statute, and has upheld the propriety of such discretionary acts as ordering restitution "as long as (1) there is a reasonable relationship between the restitution and the defendant’s rehabilitation, and (2) there is a factual underpinning supportive of the restitution". The court concludes that

we are entirely satisfied that the debarment was reasonably designed to “assist” defendant in “leading] a law-abiding life” and was thus permitted under N.J.S.A. 2C:45-la....The condition of probation was substantially related to an appropriate penological and rehabilitative objective

followed by numerous citations.

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