The term “disorderly conduct” is quite broad, encompassing a number of different types of behaviors occurring in a number of different locations, and is also referred to as “disturbing the peace.” According to A.R.S 13-2904, the term refers primarily to the following:
- Engaging in violence, fighting, or severely disruptive behavior.
- Making unreasonable noise with intent to disturb peace and quiet in a neighborhood, or to disturb a family or individual.
- Using offensive or abusive language or bodily gestures to provoke another person.
- Recklessly handling, discharging, or displaying a weapon or other dangerous object.
- Refusing to obey a lawful order to leave the area.
In Phoenix, many people who engage in disorderly conduct do so under the influence of alcohol or other substances. There are numerous consequences for these actions, but the severity of the charges depends on the type of conduct.
Some disorderly conduct charges are misdemeanors. If the disorderly conduct doesn’t involve the use of a deadly weapon, such as a firearm, sharp knife, or other dangerous instrument, it may be charged as a class 1 misdemeanor. This can result in up to 6 months in jail with a $25,000 fine. Those convicted of a class 1 misdemeanor will also experience up to 3 years of probation, which can include classes, counseling, or both.
If the disorderly conduct involves handling, displaying, or discharging a gun, or unsafely wielding another dangerous weapon, it can be charged a class 6 felony. Charges may also include an allegation of dangerousness for the use of such a weapon.
The first offense of a disorderly conduct dangerous felony will result in a mandatory minimum prison sentence of 1.5 years or a maximum of 3 years. Furthermore, if the convicted party has a history of dangerous felonies, the mandatory prison sentence is a minimum of 3 years and a maximum of 6.
What to Do After Arrest
If you’ve been arrested for disorderly conduct in Phoenix or other areas of Arizona, there are a few steps to take. First, always contact an experienced criminal defense attorney. At Law Offices of Scott David Stewart, you’ll work with a former prosecutor who knows how to navigate all sides of the legal world.
The appropriate defense depends on which alleged actions of the defendant are considered by the court to comprise a disturbance. As such, all charges of disorderly conduct must be handled on a case-by-case basis.
If you did not intend to disturb the peace through your actions, or were unaware that those around you could hear you or see your gestures, this may be the base for potential defense. If your actions included a court-ordained “dangerous weapon” under your lawful possession, it may also be possible to demonstrate you were not behaving disruptively.
Arizona Criminal Lawyers
Charges of disorderly conduct may be simple to navigate. One of the most common types of criminal offenses in Arizona, many disorderly conduct charges are challenged and, ultimately, dismissed in court. Dismissal may be a result of insufficient evidence or lack of credible and consistent witness statements. In addition, if the prosecution cannot prove “beyond reasonable doubt” that disorderly conduct took place, the case may also be dismissed.
Don’t take this potential for dismissal lightly, however. If you are convicted of disorderly conduct, you could face a loss of your job, scholarship, or professional certifications. If you are currently facing charges for disorderly conduct, our criminal defense attorney Scott Stewart at the Law Offices of Scott David Stewart can help.