3 Things You Should Know if You Have Been Arrested for Disorderly Conduct

Law Blog

The charge of disorderly conduct is general. There is no hard and clear definition of what this means. If you are arrested for this charge, you should hire an attorney immediately. There is certainly no reason to plead guilty because it is often difficult to prove in court. The following are a few things you should understand when you are arrested for this.

The consequences can be worse than you think

You may think that you only need to appear in court, plead guilty, and pay a small fine. But you may end up surprised at the consequences. In most jurisdictions, disorderly conduct is considered a misdemeanor. But this does not mean the consequences aren't severe. Along with a stiff fine, even a misdemeanor can carry a jail sentence. This sentence can be as long as a year. If the offense was minor, you will likely be given a ticket. But because you were arrested, you may face a harsher punishment than the equivalent of a traffic ticket. For this reason alone, you need to contact an attorney.

It is easy for police officers to make mistakes

When the disorderly conduct involves groups of people, it is easy for an innocent person to be arrested. You may have been with friends whose conduct was disorderly, but yours was not. However, once the police arrive, you are swept up in the arrest with the others. In most situations, it is impossible to argue with the police. You will be taken to the police station and processed. The same thing can happen if you are an innocent bystander. You witnessed what happened, but you were too close to the others who engaged in disorderly conduct.

Sometimes disorderly conduct is a citizen exercising their rights

There is often a thin line between a disorderly conduct charge and your constitutional rights. It is not uncommon for someone to be charged with this because they were being rude or offensive in some way. This alone may not be enough for the charge to stick. Public discourse can lead to shouting, but if the words are not threatening, your arrest may have been unwarranted.

There is no reason to plead guilty to a disorderly conduct charge without first speaking to a criminal defense lawyer. It is common for the district attorney to attempt a quick plea bargain, but this is due to the difficult nature of prosecuting this type of charge. A police officer may arrest you for disorderly conduct if only because the officer wasn't sure what to charge you with. In other circumstances, you may be innocent. You may have been in the wrong place at the wrong time, or perhaps you simply upset someone. You should always consult with an attorney.


3 December 2019