Disorderly conduct is a phrase law enforcement officers use to describe someone who is being disruptive in a public place. When the police cannot persuade a citizen to stop being unruly, an arrest on a disorderly conduct charge could result.
Unfortunately, law enforcement sometimes misuses the disorderly conduct charge. People get arrested when they have done nothing wrong, and then face the inconvenience and anxiety of responding to criminal charges.
If you were arrested for disorderly conduct, you need the help of one of our skilled Attorneys at Leifert & Leifert to defend you. Depending on the circumstances of your particular case, there might be a range of options available to defeat a disorderly conduct charge. Speak with a Tequesta disorderly conduct defense Lawyer today to begin discussing the details of your case.
What is Disorderly Conduct?
Florida Statute § 877.03 uses arcane language to describe disorderly conduct. The law states that a person can be arrested for disorderly conduct if their behavior corrupts public morals or is an outrage to public decency. It is difficult to understand what those terms mean today.
As a practical matter, an arrest for disorderly conduct most often happens when someone creates a disturbance and will not or cannot calm down. Examples of situations that could lead to a disorderly conduct arrest are:
- Belligerently refusing to leave an establishment like a store or restaurant
- Having a loud argument with someone in public
- Participating in a protest and refusing to disperse when police order the crowd to leave
- Refusing to comply with a law enforcement officer’s request
- Getting into a brawl in a public place
Disorderly conduct can also be associated with intoxication. It is a crime for someone to be so intoxicated in public that they put themselves, other people, or property at risk. Both disorderly conduct and public intoxication are second-degree Misdemeanors and carry potential sentences of up to 60 days in jail and a $500 fine.
What Are Some Potential Defenses Against Disorderly Conduct Charges?
Disorderly conduct charges may arise because someone was exercising their Constitutional right to free speech. If someone was engaged in peaceful protest when the arrest happened, a local Attorney could assert that the disorderly conduct arrest violated the accused’s right to free speech. This defense also might be successful in cases where a person was arrested for having a non-violent argument in a public place.
If the basis of the arrest was a physical altercation, a defense Attorney might argue that the accused acted in self-defense. Self-defense is an affirmative defense, meaning that the defendant must prove that the accused did not instigate the altercation and did not use more force than was necessary to protect themselves and others.
Failure to Prove Elements of the Crime
A conviction on disorderly conduct charges requires that the actions that gave rise to the charge take place in public, and either place other people in danger or disturb their peace. It is also recommended to collect evidence about the circumstances of an arrest in order to raise a defense that the act did not take happen in public, or did not affect any other people.
Disorderly conduct charges often arise out of confrontational interactions with police officers. An arresting Officer may not follow proper procedures to protect the accused’s rights when acting in the heat of the moment. A knowledgeable Criminal Defense Attorney at Leifert & Leifert could point out the failure to respect the Constitutional rights of the accused and get the disorderly conduct case dismissed.
Speak with a Tequesta Disorderly Conduct Attorney Today
No one should have to maneuver through the criminal justice system alone. The stakes are high, and a person who is not familiar with the system easily could be overwhelmed.
Instead, bring in one of our Attorneys at Leifert & Leifert who could provide support, advice, and advocacy. Contact a Tequesta defense Lawyer today to make an appointment for a consultation about your disorderly conduct case.