Disorderly conduct can be charged in either county court, or municipal court. When charged at the county court level, it can be classified as a class 2 misdemeanor, a class 3 misdemeanor, or a petty offense. However, when charged at the municipal court level (city as opposed to state court), disorderly conduct is a municipal offense punishable by one year in the county jail.
Charges of Disorderly Conduct in County Court
Disorderly conduct is a class 1 petty offense when a person makes an offensive utterance or gesture (for example, extending a middle finger) in a public place, and that gesture tends to incite an immediate breach of the peace, or when a person makes an unreasonable noise in a public place or near a private residence.
Either of those acts becomes a class 2 misdemeanor where the defendant committed the act with intent to disrupt a funeral or to cause emotional distress to someone attending a funeral.
Discharging a firearm in public, or displaying a deadly weapon, also constitutes disorderly conduct and is a class 2 misdemeanor.
Fighting in a public place, not for the purpose of a contest of professional skill, is a class 3 misdemeanor.
Charges of Disorderly Conduct in Municipal Court
Disorderly conduct charges are frequently prosecuted in municipal or city court. That is, in part, because disorderly conduct is something of a catch-all offense encompassing a wide range of conduct you may not even suspect could serve as the basis for criminal charges. Driving with your windows rolled down and loud music playing out of the windows of your vehicle could serve as the basis for charges. Alternatively, a verbal argument could be prosecuted. Even foul language alone could result in a disorderly conduct citation.
Disorderly Conduct in Domestic Violence Cases
In most domestic violence cases charged at the municipal court level, disorderly conduct is charged along with any other offenses like assault and battery. This charge can be used and often is used by the prosecuting attorney as leverage, since many cases involving a weak allegation of assault may still involve a vulnerability on a charge of disorderly conduct. Because all offenses at the municipal court level are punishable by the same possible jail term – one year in the county jail – the significance of a disorderly conduct charge should never be overlooked.
Do I need a defense attorney?
While disorderly conduct may seem like a minor charge, you can still be sent to jail, face fines, or be ordered to do community services, substance abuse treatment, domestic violence classes, or even complete an anger management course.
If you have been charged with disorderly conduct, contact a criminal defense lawyer to discuss your case and evaluate any possible defenses you may have, and how best to defend and mitigate you case.
To schedule a free initial consultation, call 720-257-5346 or fill out a free case review form, and a representative from the Law Office of Kimberly Diego will contact you as soon as possible.