Disorderly conduct (also known as breach of peace) is seen as a “catch-all” charge. It does not require any strong supporting evidence to be charged and covers a wide range of offenses. Any act that is seen as “disturbing the peace” could land a person with a disorderly conduct charge. If you or someone you know is facing disorderly conduct charges, it’s important to know your rights, and be well informed.
What Exactly Is Disorderly Conduct?
Florida Statute 877.03 defines disorderly conduct as:
…acts as are 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 or disorderly conduct
This means that anyone can be charged with disorderly conduct, so long as they are seem to be acting in a way that disturbs the peace. This includes, but is not limited to:
- Fighting in public
- Public Intoxication
- Making Loud or Obscene Noises
- Use of Abusive Language
- Starting or Inciting a Riot
These are just a few common examples of disorderly conduct, however because of the law’s loose wording, it is left open for interpretation. This means that a large number of offenses are labeled as disorderly conduct.
Disorderly conduct is classified as a second degree misdemeanor. This means that you could face up to sixty days in jail and up to $500 in fines. However, each case is different based on your criminal record and the judge. With the help of a skilled attorney, you can easily get off with a warning or probation, and in some cases have the charges dropped altogether.
Do I Need a Lawyer?
Yes! Luckily, disorderly conduct is one of the easiest charges for an attorney to defend. Hiring a lawyer can save you from fines and even possible jail time. Your attorney can go with a wide range of defenses such as claiming your speech is protected by the First Amendment or citing lack of evidence. An experienced attorney may also be able to reach a plea deal with the state, or get the case thrown out.
If you or someone you know is facing a disorderly conduct or breach of peace charge, don’t do it alone! Contact PLM and learn how our criminal defense lawyers can defend your case. Don’t gamble with your freedom! Call PLM attorneys today.