In Utah, disorderly conduct laws are broadly defined and interpreted. It is a fairly widely used criminal charge. The reason for this is that the law can applied to many different situations. Often, what constitutes the difference between a criminal disorderly conduct offense and a mere annoyance is nothing more than the officer’s point of view. This can make such cases particularly tricky.
Many people who find themselves facing disorderly conduct charges have never been arrested before. This can be a significant blow to their pride and their reputation as they face fines, potential jail time, and a criminal record. The goal of a criminal defense attorney is to help their clients in avoiding the worst of these consequences.
Utah Disorderly Conduct Laws
Reading through the Utah statute that governs disorderly conduct (Utah Code 76-9-102), you can see just how this law could be applied to all sorts of different situations.
According to that law, you can be convicted of this offense if you:
- Refuse to comply with a lawful order of the police to move from a public place, or knowingly create a hazardous or physically offensive condition which serves no legitimate purpose, or
- In intending to cause public inconvenience, annoyance, or alarm or recklessly creating a risk thereof, you:
- Engage in fighting or in violent or threatening behavior,
- Make unreasonable noises in public,
- Make unreasonable noises in private that can be heard in public, or
- Obstruct vehicle or pedestrian traffic.
Penalties for Disorderly Conduct in Utah
In most cases, where the police have given an order to desist, disorderly conduct is a Class C Misdemeanor. Class C Misdemeanor offenses are considered crimes. This means they go on your record and are available for public access in the future. They carry a potential sentence of up to 90 days and a fine of $750.
In cases where you are not ordered to desist, the offense is an infraction (not a criminal charge), and is punishable by a fine.
You may have been celebrating a win by your favorite sports team or protesting peacefully. You could have been playing your music too loudly in your own home. There are countless scenarios that could lead to a disorderly conduct charge.
People who are charged with this offense are normally just regular people who got a little out of control or ran into the wrong officer on the wrong night. Whatever the case, a local Utah defense lawyer can help ensure your side of the story is heard in court. Contact us to speak directly with a Utah criminal defense attorney today.