When an individual engages in behavior that disturbs the peace, including violating noise ordinances, behaving recklessly in a crowded area, provoking a fight, or public drunkenness, they may be charged with disorderly conduct. It is one of the most commonly charged offenses in Georgia, and it is often used by police officers to keep the peace and prevent the situation from escalating any further.
In some cases, however, a police officer will charge someone with disorderly conduct simply because they were engaging in behavior that the officer did not like. Despite not breaking any laws, the police will arrest the person to teach them a lesson for irritating the police. Although this charge is not as serious as other charges, such as aggravated assault or assault with a deadly weapon, it can result in serious penalties.
Any person who has been charged with disorderly conduct is urged to contact a lawyer who knows the ins and outs of criminal law. A Savannah criminal defense lawyer will review the details of the case, determine whether the charges are valid, and develop a defense strategy that will protect their client’s legal rights.
What Is Disorderly Conduct?
Also referred to as breach of the peace, disorderly conduct is any type of obnoxious or unruly behavior that creates a disturbance and causes other people in the vicinity to feel annoyed, inconvenienced, or alarmed. It is one of the most commonly filed charges in the state of Georgia. Although the behavior is disruptive, it does not usually present a serious public danger. According to the Official Code of Georgia Annotated (OCGA), the following are examples of disorderly conduct:
Disorderly conduct covers the following:
What Activities Qualify as Disorderly Conduct?
The laws that define disorderly conduct vary from state to state. However, the following behaviors generally qualify as disorderly conduct, regardless of the state:
Is Public Drunkenness Considered Disorderly Conduct?
Also referred to as public intoxication, public drunkenness is considered a separate offense under Georgia criminal law. When a person is intoxicated in a public or private place and behaves in a way that is offensive or vulgar, exposes themself to another person, or performs an indecent act such as public urination, they may be charged with public drunkenness. This is a misdemeanor crime that is punishable by fines of up to $1,000 and one year in prison.
What Are the Penalties for Disorderly Conduct?
In most cases, disorderly conduct is considered a misdemeanor offense. However, there are certain circumstances in which it may qualify as a felony offense, including when a person falsely reports a fire or engages in behavior that presents a serious risk to public safety. The following are examples of possible penalties for a conviction of disorderly conduct:
What Are the Defense Options for a Disorderly Conduct Charge?
If an individual is found guilty of disorderly conduct, it can damage the person’s reputation and jeopardize relationships with family and friends. A disorderly conduct conviction also means that the individual will have a criminal record, which can make it difficult to get a job or buy a house. These are potentially serious implications, particularly if the behavior does not warrant the punishment. Regardless of the circumstances, a skilled criminal defense lawyer will review the charges, conduct a thorough investigation, and develop a strategic defense strategy that will protect the client’s legal rights. The following are examples of effective defense strategies that may be used:
Why Should I Hire a Criminal Defense Lawyer?
A disorderly conduct charge is nowhere near as serious as other charges, such as drunk driving, sexual assault, or aggravated battery. However, a disorderly conduct conviction can have serious consequences. In addition to the steep fines, possible jail time, and probation, a conviction can remain on the person’s permanent record, making it much more difficult to obtain a new job or be approved for a mortgage. It can also be very damaging to one’s reputation and their relationships with family and friends.
An experienced criminal defense lawyer will thoroughly review every detail of the case. A lawyer will determine whether the disorderly conduct charge was warranted, and they will examine all the evidence and develop a defense strategy.
Savannah Criminal Defense Lawyers at Kicklighter Law Represent Clients Facing Disorderly Conduct Charges
If you have been charged with disorderly conduct, reach out to one of our skilled Savannah criminal defense lawyers at Kicklighter Law at your earliest convenience. We understand the personal, professional, and financial impact that a disorderly conduct conviction can have on you. To schedule a free consultation, call us today at 912-754-6003 or contact us online. We are located in Springfield, Georgia, and we proudly serve clients throughout Effingham County, Savannah, and the surrounding areas.