Possible Defenses To A Disorderly Conduct Charge

by gclatworthy on November 27, 2012

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(US criminal law and generally) Disorderly conduct is the most common charge made by arresting officers throughout the country. This charge has a very broad range of events that fall under its scope. Playing music too loud at your home to having a fight with your partner that others can hear can be considered disorderly conduct. Showing a firearm in public, making obscene gestures that others are witness too, and being intoxicated in a public place are some other examples. 

Because the ranges of events that qualify under disorderly conduct are so vast, so are the possible defenses. Our criminal defense attorney in Maryland advises that one must take into consideration every aspect of the offense to create a good defense to put before the court. Following are several defenses which have proved successful in court:

• Mental State (Non-Medical) – One of the best defenses for a disorderly conduct charge is to show that the mental state of the charged person was that of someone who did not know their actions were causing a disturbance. An example would be someone charged for having a loud party at their home could plead that they did not know their neighbor three houses away could hear their music.
• Mental State (Medical) – A person that has been charged for being loud and disruptive and is being treated for any type of mental illness can use this medical condition to their advantage. A person that is suffering with depression and then creates a public display can show that their mental state was the cause of the action.
• Witness Testimony – Sometimes, a person is charged with disruptive behavior based on the testimony of one person. However, when others are interviewed about the event, the evidence shows that the event was not seen as a disruption by any other people involved. When this is the case, the accused often sees their case dismissed.
• Intoxication – If alcohol or drugs are involved, the defense attorney can show that the accused is not fully responsible for their actions due to a substance abuse problem. In many cases jail time and fines are waived if the accused enters into a treatment plan for these problems.
• Police Work – In some cases, shoddy police work will be the best line of defense for the accused. If the arresting officer violated the rights of the accused, the defense lawyer can use this evidence to have the case dismissed. This may include shoddy reporting, violations of Miranda, and violations of search and seizure laws concerning evidence.

Disorderly conduct charges are, in most cases, a felony misdemeanor charge that carries a fine and possibly imprisonment of up to six months. In most cases the courts are satisfied with monetary punishment. However, the accused will still have a criminal record if they are found guilty, and this can impact their lives more dramatically than a fine. If you have been accused of or charged with disorderly conduct, it is in your best interest to seek legal counsel to protect your rights and your reputation.

Georgina Clatworthy is a freelance writer who regularly posts on topics relating to law and consumer issues.  She contributes this article for Price Benowitz, a notable criminal defense firm in Maryland.  Disorderly conduct charges can be wide-ranging, so those who are cited under these charges should seek professional legal advice in order to build the best defense and improve their chances of acquittal.

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