For many people a disorderly conduct charge is the first criminal charge they’ve ever faced. While some may consider it a relatively minor charge—no criminal charge should be taken lightly.
A conviction of any kind, including disorderly conduct, can place a permanent blemish on your record. Having “a record” can impact your ability to get employment, an apartment, and in these days of readily available criminal history checks, your ability to get a date! All jokes aside, a disorderly conduct charge is something to be taken very seriously and the conviction is to be avoided at all costs.
According to the laws in Florida, disorderly conduct is conduct that creates a threat of safety to another person or to society. This doesn’t mean you have to threaten someone, simply raising your voice and using assaultive language can be enough. We often see this charge attached to behaviors that really don’t threaten the safety of anyone.
The application of Florida’s disorderly conduct law is subjective. The arresting officer makes the determination of whether or not your behavior constitutes the threat and therefore the criminal charge. Often, their perception is skewed by their position. If your arrest seems unwarranted, your defense lawyer can challenge the charge on the basis of a lack of evidence, showing that the officer didn’t have enough reason to believe you were a safety risk.
There are many situations that could lead to a disorderly conduct charge. It’s not uncommon to see them levied where two parties were involved in a fight, where the defendant got belligerent with the police, or where the defendant engaged in loud and potentially frightening behavior in a public place. Again, the subjective nature of this charge makes it applicable in a wide variety of situations.
Florida Disorderly Conduct Penalties
If you’re convicted of this misdemeanor charge, you could face up to one year in jail and fines reaching $1,000. There’s a chance you could avoid jail time altogether, however, if you and your attorney are able to negotiate a favorable plea agreement with the prosecutor.
If you are facing charges of disorderly conduct in Florida, you don’t want to do it alone. Contact us today to arrange for a consultation with a local Florida criminal defense attorney.