Is disorderly conduct a serious crime? If you have been accused of disorderly conduct in Arizona, your first stop should be the offices of an experienced criminal defense lawyer. Disorderly conduct, often also referred to as “disturbing the peace,” is a relatively common charge throughout the state. Some of the most common reasons for being charged with disorderly conduct include making unreasonable noise, using offensive language in order to provoke someone, generating a commotion to disrupt a business, engaging in seriously disruptive behavior like fighting, recklessly handling a firearm, or refusing to leave a physical location after being requested to do so by authorities.

It is also considered by most criminal defense attorneys a “junk” charge, something police use when they just can’t think of another crime which they just ‘know’ has been committed.

Mesa AZ | Is Disorderly Conduct a Serious Charge?

In some situations, even loitering could be classified as a disorderly conduct charge, and this is considered disrupting the peace. You might be charged with loitering if you are present in a public place and attempting to solicit sex, sell something, beg, or remain on a property for which you have no purpose to be there. If a person managing the property or another authority figure requests you to leave and you do not, you could be charged with loitering and disorderly conduct.

Penalties for Disorderly Conduct

Since these charges are so common, disorderly conduct has a reputation for being relatively minor. Despite this, it can still be in your best interests to hire a criminal defense attorney to help you handle the charge. Even though disorderly conduct is most often classified as a class 1 misdemeanor, you could be looking at up to six months jail and fines of up to $2,500 plus surcharges. Working directly with a criminal defense attorney can help you explore possible defense strategies to minimize the chances of a conviction, serious penalties, and significant consequences.

In some situations involving a firearm, disorderly conduct charges can be elevated to the felony level. If you are charged with felony disorderly conduct, you could be facing up to 18 months in prison. In addition, being labeled as a convicted felon for the rest of your life could make it extremely difficult to obtain employment. As soon as you’ve been charged with a felony disorderly conduct crime, you need to invoke your rights to speak to an attorney to determine your next steps.

What Can I Do in My Defense?

One of the reasons that disorderly conduct charges are so common throughout Arizona is that they are relatively subjective. This is one of the most common ways to fight a disorderly conduct charge, by arguing that the behavior in question was simply annoying rather than violating the law, or that it may be constitutionally protected speech.

Your criminal defense attorney might also explore other avenues, such as exploring weaknesses and flaws in the prosecution’s case. Make sure you walk through the entirety of the situation in question with your defense attorney to determine other opportunities to fight the case. Especially if you are facing felony charges, it is critical that you consult with your attorney as soon as possible to avoid common mistakes and to craft the most compelling defense. Make sure you have someone on your side representing your rights from the outset.

This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. Udall Shumway PLC is located in Mesa, Arizona and is a full service law firm. We assist Individuals, families, businesses, schools and municipalities in Mesa and the Phoenix/East Valley.