What is disorderly conduct?
Under Ohio law, disorderly conduct is defined using several different behaviors. You could be arrested and charged with disorderly conduct if you recklessly cause inconvenience, annoyance, or alarm to another by doing any of the following:
- Engaging in fighting, in threatening harm to persons or property, or in violent or turbulent behavior
- Making unreasonable noise or an offensively coarse utterance, gesture, or display or communicating unwarranted and grossly abusive language to any person
- Insulting, taunting, or challenging another, under circumstances in which that conduct is likely to provoke a violent response
- Hindering or preventing the movement of persons on a public street, road, highway, or right-of-way, or to, from, within, or upon public or private property, so as to interfere with the rights of others, and by any act that serves no lawful and reasonable purpose of the offender
- Creating a condition that is physically offensive to persons or that presents a risk of physical harm to persons or property, by any act that serves no lawful and reasonable purpose of the offender.
Or while voluntarily intoxicated, you
- Engage in conduct likely to be offensive or to cause inconvenience, annoyance, or alarm to persons of ordinary sensibilities in a public place or in the presence of two or more persons
- Engage in conduct or create a condition that presents a risk of physical harm to the offender or another, or to the property of another
Disorderly conduct is a fairly common charge used by the police to keep order within the community, especially during weekends and holidays. Often, the police would charge people with disorderly conduct in questionable situations. Many people who are charged did not even know that they were breaking the law. This perhaps due to some of the misconceptions about disorderly conduct laws: one misconception is that you must be drunk to be charged with disorderly conduct. That is not true. You can be charged regardless of whether you are intoxicated. Another misconception is that you must be in public to be charged with disorderly conduct. This also not true, you can be charged with disorderly conduct even if you are on private property.
Penalties for disorderly conduct
In most cases, the Ohio statutes list penalties for disorderly conduct as only a minor misdemeanor charge, which carries a $150 fine. In some situations, however, you could be charged with a 4th degree misdemeanor, which carries up to 30 days in jail and a $250 fine.
Here are some additional issues you may face if you are convicted of disorderly conduct:
- Maintaining your current employment
- Licensure issues in some professions
- Difficulty getting a good job in the future
- Difficulty and possible denial in immigration and naturalization proceedings
Simply put, if you are convicted of disorderly conduct while intoxicated, it could remain on your criminal background for the rest of your life. No matter what the circumstances were in your case, you run the risk of being considered a person who has had an issue with alcohol. Thus, it is critical that you to give your disorderly conduct charge the level of importance it deserves.
How can a criminal defense attorney help me?
If you have been charged with disorderly conduct in Ohio, it is in your best interest to contact a licensed criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. A trained lawyer can appear on your behalf in court, discovery evidence held against you, negotiate with prosecuting attorney, and advice you on how to best approach your case. Most importantly, your criminal defense attorney can look for legal weaknesses in the State’s case. These legal weakness are procedural mistakes made by the police during your arrest/stop. Your attorney can use these legal weakness as leverage to negotiate with the prosecutor attorney to drop the charges or charge you with a lesser crime.
Are you in trouble? Contact us.
If you’ve been charged with an disorderly conduct while intoxicated, it’s important to know what you are up against. Complete the form on this page to have local attorneys call you directly. The form is quick and easy to complete and attorneys will call you at no cost or obligation.
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Does it matter if they didn’t use a breathalyzer or standardized field sobriety test on me?
Though the breathalyzer test and standardized field sobriety test are often the best ways of assessing intoxication, they aren’t the only ones. Officers also have eyewitness accounts at their disposal as well as their own expert opinion. Despite this fact, it’s more advantageous for you if they did not conduct either of these tests. If you plead “not guilty” and their government witness either doesn’t appear in court or their testimony doesn’t hold up, you might not be found guilty.
- Ohio Revised Code: Intoxication [Chapter 2917.11 (B)]
- Columbus Alcoholics Anonymous
- Rehabilitation Clinic Locator