Do you have a habit of letting “high spirits” (or alcoholic spirits, for that matter) get the better of you?
If so, you could end up finding yourself charged with some form of disorderly conduct. While that may seem like a relatively minor charge, it’s actually a catch-all term for several specific offenses — some of which can be quite serious.
What kinds of things can be considered a form of disorderly conduct?
Essentially, anything that could be chalked up to a disturbance of the peace in a general area or a disruption of business processes can end up being charged as a form of disorderly conduct. This includes:
- Tagging (painting with graffiti) or otherwise vandalizing a school, a government building, a church, a synagogue, a mosque or a cemetery
- Public intoxication or drinking in prohibited places (like a house of worship, a school or a courthouse)
- Promoting civil disorder by teaching someone how to use firearms or explosives with the knowledge or intention that they will do so to create civil disorder
- Rioting and unlawful assembly, which means assembling with six or more other people to violate criminal laws through violence and force
- Intentionally interrupting religious ceremonies as an act of intimidation or through intentionally rude or indecent behavior
- Threatening to fight someone or threatening to commit a crime while on private property
- Obstructing traffic (pedestrian or vehicle) to purposefully inconvenience others (such as by blocking a sidewalk or street in protest
- Using unreasonably loud noises, offensive language or threats to disturb or alarm others
The penalties for such actions vary according to the exact charges that are pressed, but you could be looking at a misdemeanor offense that carries up to 15 days and jail and a $750 fine or a Class D felony that could net you seven years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
Adolescents are often the target of these charges, so take this very seriously if your teen has been arrested. Early guidance can help you protect their future.