Ways Your Lawyer Can Mount A Disorderly Conduct Defense
Disorderly conduct is a charge that can encompass a lot of things. It can mean that you’ve being accused of being drunk in public, loitering, or using vulgar or obscene language in a public place.
Some people think this charge can be used as a catch-all or be unfairly applied. For example, when a celebrity uses foul language or makes an obscene gesture at a photographer, they’re not likely to be arrested. A drunken fan yelling obscenities in a football stadium also probably won’t be charged. But if the scenario is flipped to include an inner-city teenager instead of a celebrity or fan, will he or she be charged?
If you’re charged with disorderly conduct, you should be aware that it’s a criminal offense. It’s on the lower end of the scale, to be sure, but it still means you’ve been accused of a crime. If you’re convicted, it could have consequences that extend to, among other things, your job and your ability to maintain a professional license.
The following are some possible ways to defend against a disorderly conduct charge:
A lack of a threat
In some jurisdictions, your actions have to rise to the level of a threat to the safety of others. This, of course, is very subjective. Your lawyer may be able to argue that no one’s safety was threatened, especially if you have a witness. For example, if you lost your temper in public and cursed at your friend, he may be willing to testify that he did not feel threatened by you.
Your lawyer may be able to argue that your language is protected by your right to freedom of speech under the Constitution’s First Amendment.
Failure to hear an officer’s order
Sometimes people are charged with disorderly conduct because the police officer says they didn’t disperse when ordered to. It’s possible to argue that you didn’t hear or understand the officer, especially if you were in a large crowd of people.
If a disorderly conduct charge is a result of a physical altercation, it may be possible to argue self defense.
If you’re in a crowd of friends, for example, and they’re drinking and yelling obscenities, you may be mistakenly arrested even though you were merely an onlooker.
Contact a criminal defense attorney, such as at Balduf William Law Office, if you’ve been charged with disorderly conduct. He or she can make sure your rights are protected, defend you against the charges, and, if necessary, represent you in court.