What Exactly Is Disorderly Conduct And How Do I Fight The Charges?
Disorderly conduct is a very broad law that can encompass a variety of behaviors. Therefore, it is difficult to predict when you may be breaking the law, but the penalties can be severe, include fines or jail time and will also go on your permanent criminal record.
The Reason for Disorderly Conduct Laws
The purpose of the disorderly conduct law is to have a reason to arrest someone to prevent that individual from engaging in actions that could become dangerous. Also, disorderly conduct is used to protect the rights of others, such as the right to legal assembly.
One common reason for disorderly conduct is that you engaged in fighting. Your actions would need to have disrupted the public, caused annoyance or alarm. In some states, you may need to have also been intoxicated. The most common defense is to claim that you were acting in self-defense. If a witness claims that the other individual threw the first punch, you may be able to have the disorderly conduct charge dropped.
You can also be arrested for making excessive and unreasonable noise that is highly disruptive or interferes with a lawful assembly. However, depending on the nature of the assembly, you may be able to claim that you were exercising your right to free speech. During a protest, you might stage a very loud counter-protest, which shouldn't lead to a disorderly conduct conviction.
Some states use disorderly conduct as an alternative to obscenity laws. For example, using abusive or obscene language in a manner that is intended to provoke a fight can be considered disorderly conduct. Still, if you claim you were simply exercising your right to free speech and if you claim you didn't make certain aggressive statements, you may not be charged with disorderly conduct.
Other Disruptive Activities
Using certain items improperly can be used to file a disorderly conduct charge. If you create a strong and noxious odor that is very disruptive, such as if you carry something with you that is decomposing, doing so could lead to a disorderly conduct charge. Using fireworks and firearms in a manner intended to scare others can also be considered disorderly conduct.
Private vs. Public Disturbances
Disorderly conduct is applied to public settings. However, if your behaviors occurred on private property, this would be considered a domestic disturbance and there are completely different laws that govern this situation. If your actions really shouldn't be considered disorderly conduct, you will likely be able to have the charges dropped.
For additional information and support, contact a professional attorney, like Novak Lee Atty At Law.