To some, a disorderly conduct charge may be a minor offense that they can quickly get away with. Only a few people realize that it can have severe repercussions. If you’re planning on attending a rally or a protest in the near future, you should check out some qualified lawyers near you so that they can guide you through the finer points of disorderly conduct charges.
In the meantime, you can read more about disorderly conduct here:
What is a Disorderly Conduct Charge?
Part of keeping communities safe, local municipalities crafted laws that place limitations on what their citizens can do. If anyone in the community engages in activities that may disrupt the peace, they can be charged with disorderly conduct.
Most of the time, individuals who have meted this punishment are those who are intoxicated or who have put on outrageous public displays.
Disorderly Conduct Law Coverage
Note that disorderly conduct laws vary from state to state. In most cases, the conduct included in the laws is broad and unclear. It can range from anger to annoyance and even engagement in unlawful actions. To see whether your charge is correct, take a look at the following coverage of disorderly conduct:
Circumstance: Many disorderly conduct cases may be considered normal if done in a different state or even at a different time. For instance, a person using a loud voice in a residential community in the middle of the night may be considered to be engaging in disorderly conduct.
However, a person doing the same thing in a commercial area in the middle of the day would not have the same charge.
Location: As mentioned, disorderly conduct laws vary per state. Some states discourage rambunctious actions in a public place such as carnivals, emergency rooms, and even private offices in a public rental building.
In some cases, it can apply when the behavior happens privately but causes discomfort and alarm for others, e.g., two people fighting in the privacy of their hotel room, which may affect the peace of others in the adjacent room.
Activities that Qualify for Disorderly Conduct
Despite having different interpretations by state, the following activities qualify for disorderly conduct charges.
Scuffles or Fighting: Most states punish individuals who engage in brawls or fights. In some cases, they may charge those involved with battery or assault if deemed necessary.
Racism: Spitting racial slurs can also get you a disorderly conduct charge.
Disruptive Protests: While anyone is free to voice their opinion in a peaceful protest, disruptive protests are different, primarily when it affects other people who are not participating in the demonstration.
Assembly Disturbance: When you try to interrupt a meeting, rally, or ceremony, you can also be charged.
Public Misconduct: Any activity that is considered to be private but done in public can get you charged with disorderly conduct.
Penalties for Disorderly Conduct
Penalties often depend on the extent of the conduct. It can be considered a misdemeanor, or it could also become a felony charge. Penalties may include one or a combination of the following:
Jail Time: First-time offenders usually do not receive jail time. However, for repeat offenders, the jail sentence can vary from days, weeks, to even months. If the charge is a misdemeanor, jail time can last for at least a year. Felony charges can be a year or even more in state prison.
Fines: Paying a fine is the most common penalty for disorderly conduct. It can range from $25 to $1,000.
Probation: Those who commit minor disorderly conduct may only receive a probation sentence, which can last for weeks to months. Violation of the probation can cause paying higher fines or serving jail time.
When you receive a charge of disorderly conduct, it is best to understand your rights, so you don’t have to deal with lengthy trials. At best, refrain from engaging in any activities that may land you with such charges.
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