How to Beat a Disorderly Conduct Charge
In Texas, most disorderly conduct charges are misdemeanors, but that does not mean the offense is not serious. A conviction means more than a fine. It may mean supervised probation, community service work, and the loss of certain professional licenses. Obtaining legal counsel as soon as possible after an arrest is imperative.
Disorderly conduct covers a range of alleged behaviors. These range from using vulgar language or making offensive gestures in public, fighting, public intoxication, creating excessive noise, peeking into someone’s home or a private restroom or dressing room, or displaying a weapon in public “in a manner calculated to alarm,” as per Texas Penal Code 42.01. While most disorderly conduct charges are Class C misdemeanors, those involving firearms are harsher Class B misdemeanor violations.
Disorderly conduct sounds like a catchall term because it is. If the police want to arrest someone who is not a serious threat to the public, a disorderly conduct charge fills the bill. Many people charged with disorderly conduct are college students or other young people behaving boisterously.
Disorderly Conduct Defenses
Because disorderly conduct charges are so broad, much depends on the alleged offense. When two people get into a public fight, police often charge both parties, even though just one was the aggressor. These are not the types of cases that law enforcement spends investigative time on. If the other party hit you first, you have the right to self-defense.
If you are arrested for what you said, you may have a free speech defense. Much depends upon where the incident took place and the circumstances. In the heat of the moment, a police officer may arrest someone for disorderly conduct when the person asks a legitimate question of law enforcement.
Disorderly conduct refers to public actions. If the alleged behavior did not take place in public, or if it is a fine line between whether the location was public or private, that is another potential defense.
When dispersing a crowd, police may arrest those in the area who do not immediately comply with their instructions. Anyone nearby could get swept up, including those who had nothing to do with the unruly crowd. An attorney might argue that their client had nothing to do with the disturbance and was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.
In firearms cases, discharging a gun because the person was afraid that a dangerous, wild animal would cause bodily harm is another potential defense.
One of the most common defenses is simply that the accused did not commit the act.
Beyond a Reasonable Doubt
To win a conviction, the prosecutor must prove that the person acted with intention and knowingly. The standard is “beyond a reasonable doubt.”
Contact Peveto Law Firm
If you or a loved one were arrested for disorderly conduct, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at Peveto Law Office right away. Call us 24/7 or fill out our online form to arrange a free initial consultation. We will review your summons, or any Class C warrants in your name, and advise you of your options. We serve clients throughout the Dallas, Plano, and North Texas area.
- Texas Penal Code, https://statutes.capitol.texas.gov/Docs/PE/htm/PE.42.htm
- Texas Government https://statutes.capitol.texas.gov/SOTWDocs/PE/htm/PE.9.htm