Florida disorderly conduct offenses, commonly referred to as a breach of peace, can result in penalties of up to 60 days in jail, six months of probation, a $500 fine, and a criminal record. If you have been charged with a Florida disorderly conduct or Florida breach of peace offense, contact a Ft. Lauderdale disorderly conduct lawyer. A distinguished criminal attorney can discuss the charges against you and determine which legal defenses might apply to your situation.
Common Disorderly Conduct Offenses
According to Florida Statute Section 877.03, disorderly conduct refers to acts “of a nature to corrupt the public morals, or outrage the sense of public decency, or affect the peace and quiet of persons who may witness them, or engages in brawling or fighting, or engages in such conduct as to constitute a breach of the peace…” While that definition is very broad, it essentially refers to fighting, demonstrating, or engaging in disruptive acts which affect someone else’s peace and quiet.
Disorderly conduct charges are generally classified as second-degree misdemeanors which can result in penalties of up to 60 days in jail or six months of probation and a $500 fine. First-time offenders may be able to have the charges dismissed or mitigated to community service. This is where a Ft. Lauderdale disorderly conduct lawyer can be of valuable help as they may have an understanding of how specific prosecutors and judges in the Fort Lauderdale area treat disorderly conduct and breach of peace offenses.
Defending Breach of Peace
Florida recognizes several disorderly conduct defenses including:
- Engaging in protected speech, which refers to purely verbal conduct protected under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution
- Simply using profanity, swear words, or obscenities towards law enforcement officials – typically during a demonstration
- Being loud, annoying, or belligerent is generally not enough to sustain disorderly conduct charges
- Making a scene or causing a crowd to gather – without more or without inciting violence – is generally not enough to sustain disorderly conduct charges
- Acting in self-defense, which can apply when someone was simply defending themselves – typically in a fight
The bottom line is disorderly conduct and breach of the peace offenses must include “something more” than words or actions which do not incite violence. However, prosecutors often read more into someone’s acts than was actually intended – or occurred. This is where having Ft. Lauderdale disorderly conduct lawyers can be the most effective.
Help from an Attorney
If you or a loved one has been charged with a Florida disorderly conduct or breach of the peace offense, contact a Ft. Lauderdale disorderly conduct lawyer to review the charges against you, determine the potential for having those charges dismissed or mitigated, and evaluate whether a legal defense might be available in your situation. Although many Florida disorderly conduct or breach of the peace offenses are classified as misdemeanors, they can result in having a criminal record which can affect not only your reputation, but can also affect access to employment, housing, education, and more. Your future is important, do not let a disorderly conduct charge affect it.