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Charged With Disorderly Conduct – How To Fight

Have you been charged with disorderly conduct? Understanding what it means and possible defenses will help you fight your charge.

What is disorderly conduct?

Communities are governed by laws that guide people on what they can and cannot do. These laws are created with the intention of helping communities run more smoothly. When a member of the community engages in behavior that causes a significant disturbance, he or she can be charged with disorderly conduct. This is sometimes referred to as a ‘breach of the peace’.

Disorderly conduct is a common charge especially when people are acting under the influence of alcohol or drugs, gathered in a group, or engaging in public displays that could be considered outrageous. It is amongst the most common criminal charges filed in any state.

Laws governing disorderly conduct

The laws governing disorderly conduct vary from one jurisdiction to the next. What will be viewed as disorderly conduct in one municipality may not be considered as such in another. In general, however, disorderly conduct is defined by many states as behavior that is likely to cause anger, annoyance or alarm to other people.

Some activities that may be considered as disorderly conduct depending on the location and circumstances include:

  • Engaging in violent and disruptive protests
  • Fighting, including brawling and physical scuffles
  • Encounters with the police such as arguing with or threatening a police officer
  • Behavior that may be considered as public misconduct e.g. urinating or masturbating in public
  • Disrupting an assembly. This may include disrupting a public rally, city council meeting or even a religious ceremony.


Punishment for disorderly conduct varies from state to state. The severity of the punishment is also dependent on the circumstances. Most cases are considered as misdemeanor offenses and are punished as that. However, some may be considered a felony e.g. false fire reports. These receive more severe punishments.

Typical penalties include jail time, fines and probation.

Fighting a disorderly conduct charge

There are many cases where overzealous police officers are too ready to stick charges on people for actions that may not warrant them. Even when there is evidence against you, you can still fight a disorderly conduct charge.

Behaviors such as horseplay are not considered disorderly conduct. You can also fight a disorderly conduct charge by claiming you were acting in self-defense.

If you want to fight a disorderly conduct charge, get in touch with an experienced criminal defense attorney. Your attorney will review your case and help you build a solid defense.

This blog post was provided by the Law Offices of Andrew J. Cates in Hartford, Connecticut.

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About the Author

Adam Hunt - Caring,experienced criminal defense that may help you to protect your driver's license, avoid a criminal record and reduce or eliminate jail time.
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