Disorderly conduct is a criminal charge where someone is alleged to be a public nuisance or danger. It’s is also one of the vaguest and most subjective offenses, and gives police a lot of freedom to arrest people who might be annoying or difficult.
Many people who end up getting arrested for disorderly conduct or related charges simply because they irritate or annoy a police officer.
Fortunately, because the disorderly conduct laws are so subjective, there are often strong grounds to fight the charge. If you were not truly disruptive, sufficiently rowdy, or otherwise didn’t meet the strict standard in the law, your case should be dismissed.
A disorderly conduct defense requires the help of a local lawyer familiar with both the criminal code in your state, and the practical standards that are applied in local courtrooms. Because of the wide variety of behaviors that can be the cause of a disorderly conduct arrest, it is very difficult to generalize about outcomes and defenses.
A criminal disorderly conduct charge can include action or offenses such as:
- Abusive Language
- Acting in an Unreasonable Manner
- Altercations in Public Places
- Boisterous Behavior
- Creating a Pubic Hazard
- Creating a Dangerous or Physically Offensive Condition
- Creating a Disturbance
- Criminal Defamation
- Crowding or Jostling People Unnecessarily
- Crimes Against Public Order
- Disregarding a lawful order
- Disorderly Persons
- Disrupting Religious Services
- Disturbing the peace
- Engaging in Illegal Business
- Intentionally Causing Inconvenience, Annoying, or Alarm
- Interfering with Airport Security
- Interfering with Lawful Activity
- Maintaining a Disorderly House
- Noxious or Unreasonable Smells or Odors
- Obscene Gestures or Language
- Obstructing Traffic
- Public Disruption
- Public Drunkenness
- Public Inconvenience
- Refusal to Disperse
- Refusing to Support your Family
- Recklessly Creating a Public Risk
- Resisting Arrest
- Threats to Public Safety
- Unlawful Assembly
- Unreasonable Noise
- Verbal Abuse or Threatening
- and much more…
Disorderly Conduct Penalties
In most circumstances, a disorderly conduct charge is a misdemeanor, which has a maximum penalty of up to 1 year in jail. There are some felony level disorderly conduct laws in some states, usually around extreme circumstances involving public safety and security.
Whether you are arrested for disorderly conduct on the spot or issued a criminal summons to appear in court at a later date, a consultation with an experienced criminal lawyer will help you understand the charges against you and your options in court for a legal defense.