In Texas, it’s not unusual for someone to face disorderly conduct charges when they weren’t even aware that they were breaking the law. While ignorance of the law is no excuse for the actions that led to the charges, it does explain why this particular law is broken so much. Ignorance and the ability of police to apply the law to all sorts of situations make it a common offense.
The frequency of Texas disorderly conduct charges doesn’t make them any easier to face. Anytime you are faced with potential jail time you have every right to be stressed and maybe even a little frightened. Having someone within the legal community on your side can set your mind at ease. A criminal defense lawyer acts as your advocate when you are up against a charge like disorderly conduct. They can help ensure you get the best results possible on your day in court.
Like most states, the disorderly conduct laws in Texas are open to interpretation and often applied by police in situations where they aren’t necessarily applicable. For this reason, it’s not unusual to see disorderly conduct charges dropped early on in the case. If the evidence simply isn’t there for a conviction, your attorney can request that the case be thrown out.
What is Disorderly Conduct in Texas?
Under Texas disorderly conduct laws, the charge can be levied against you if it’s believed you do any of the following in a public place:
- Make an obscene gesture likely to start an altercation
- Make a “noxious and unreasonable odor” with the use of chemicals
- Use “abusive, indecent, profane, or vulgar language,” words likely to cause an altercation
- Make unreasonable noise in public or near a private residence (not your own)
- Fight with another person
- Verbally abuse or threaten another
- Display or fire a gun with the intent of scaring others
- Expose your genitals or anus with disregard to others
- Peeping, into homes, hotel rooms, or other private areas
It’s easy to see why this charge is such a common one when you think of all the different scenarios that could fulfill these elements.
In general, if convicted, you could face a $500 fine for a disorderly conduct charge. However, if the offense involved a weapon, that penalty is increased to up to 180 days in jail and fines reaching $2,000.
A local criminal defense attorney can evaluate your case and help you determine the best course of action. Even if you are facing jail time, there’s a chance you could be sentenced to probation instead, allowing you to remain in the community and maintain your employment.
If you’re facing Texas disorderly conduct charges, contact us to speak with a local defense lawyer for your free legal consultation.