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. As these penalties have serious implications, if you have been charged with a breach of peace offense, contact a Ft. Lauderdale disorderly conduct lawyer from Leifert & Leifert. A distinguished criminal attorney could 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 lawyer can be of valuable help as they may have an understanding of how specific prosecutors and judges in the area treat disorderly conduct and breach of peace offenses.
One of the most common types of disorderly conduct charges is public intoxication. Law enforcement typically issue this charge when someone is disrupting the peace due to their intoxication. It is important to note that if someone is disrupting the peace or incites violence in a space that is reserved for alcohol use they can still be charged with public intoxication. Therefore, all that the prosecution has to prove to receive a conviction is that the defendant was drinking in a public place, was intoxicated at the time of the event, and caused a disruption that put the safety of others at risk. A lawyer in Ft. Lauderdale could help someone with their disorderly conduct charges if they have been accused of public intoxication.
Defenses Against Breach of Peace Charges
State law 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 toward 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 inciting violence is generally not enough to sustain a breach of peace 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 can be the most effective in building a defense against disorderly conduct charges.
Get Help from a Ft Lauderdale Disorderly Conduct Attorney
If you or a loved one has been charged with a 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 of these breach of the peace offenses are classified as misdemeanors, they can result in having a criminal record that 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.