Disorderly conduct is a minor offense and is among the most often committed crime. A person can be charged of this crime when he knowingly disrupts the peace, thus endangering the safety in a certain area. It is a broad offense that ranges from making loud noises in public to causing disruptions in the normal flow of traffic. It works like an umbrella law that covers different subtopics. Each state or country has varying opinions on whether the conduct can be considered disorderly or not.
As this law covers a broad scope, the guidelines that help in determining if a person committed this crime are the circumstances of the situation and the extent of the affected parties. Examples of disorderly conduct are as follow:
When a group of people in public starts making loud noises; when a group of drunken teens hang out in public places; when people are found continuously walking around the vicinity in the middle of the night after curfew; when a crowd breaks into fights; when the house party becomes too loud that the neighbors are disturbed; when couples engage in obscene acts in public; when a person goes through public trash bins and leaves the contents on the street; when a person is involved in prostitution in areas where it is illegal; when protests without permit cause traffic jams; when a person urinates in inappropriate places.
The most common disorderly conduct violation stems from people’s encounter with law enforcement officers. A person who is pulled up by a police officer for reasons such as speeding or traffic rule violation can be charged with this crime when he starts to threaten the officer. Regardless of whether he was truly speeding or not, he can be charged separately for his disruptive or destructive conduct.
Disorderly conduct is so similar to misdemeanor cases. This makes it difficult to judge as it oftentimes breaches the wall between the person’s freedom of speech and his limitations. A law enforcement officer who easily gives the offenders a violation slip can wrongly accuse them of disrupting the neighborhood’s peace when in fact, they are just exercising their rights according to the Constitution.
This offense is criminally punishable. Once the defendant is found guilty of the crime through a fair trial, he may face a number of penalties including being on probation for a period decided by the Judge, paying certain amount that range from $25 to $1,000, and being imprisoned for as long as a year. It may be a minor offence but as all other criminal cases are, it also leaves criminal consequences.
The person’s record will forever be marked with this crime which can affect his chances of getting a good job or entering into a reputable university. Pleading guilty should not be done so recklessly just to get off of the case immediately. It is best to consult with a lawyer who can find ways to prevent the person’s records to permanently bear the criminal offense.
You should remember that you have your rights as outlined by the Constitution however, the exercise of these rights are subject to making sure that others can also freely exercise and enjoy theirs.