One of the most ambiguous charges for disruptive behavior is disorderly conduct. You can be cited for this charge for a variety of reasons, usually left to the police officer’s discretion. If found guilty, your personal record can be tarnished and you may face substantial penalties in Arizona. Without legal representation, it can be difficult to fight this charge and you could be found guilty, even if the charge is unfair or unfounded.
Disorderly conduct covers almost any type of perceived disruptive behavior. According to A.R.S. 13-2904, a person can be charged with this crime for the following reasons:
- Fighting or engaging in violent, disruptive behavior in public
- Making unreasonable noise
- Using offensive language or gestures to provoke a retaliatory response
- Creating a disturbance to hinder a lawful gathering, procession or meeting
- Refusing to disperse when lawfully ordered near a hazardous situation like a fire or other emergency
- Discharging or displaying a gun or deadly weapon in a reckless manner
Often disorderly conduct is a misunderstanding between the perpetrator and the citing officer. Being in the wrong place at the wrong time can easily be misconstrued and many people are wrongly cited with this charge. However, trying to prove your innocence on your own can be difficult without legal representation. This charge should be taken seriously as it can lead to serious consequences that can affect your ability to pass a background check for employment or other future endeavors, plus it can have penalties, including fines and jail time.
Penalties for Disorderly Conduct in Arizona
For most instances of disorderly conduct, the penalty is a class 1 misdemeanor. This can include fines up to $2,500, up to six months in jail, and probation; the judge can also add other penalties, such as counseling, if deemed necessary. It is the most serious level of misdemeanor, one step below a felony. However, if the disorderly conduct involves a “deadly weapon or dangerous instrument,” it could be considered a felony, which can be up to two years in jail and thousands of dollars in fines, plus probation and other penalties. A misdemeanor will tarnish your record, but a felony of any kind can have a serious impact on your life and should never be taken lightly.
Fighting a Disorderly Conduct Charge
Due to the serious nature of a disorderly conduct charge, you need legal help to get this discharged or reduced. There are many ways to fight this in the legal system, but you need an experienced attorney to plead your case. It is unlikely that a prosecutor will reduce or dismiss the charge without a convincing argument from your attorney.
At Matthew Lopez Law, we are on your side and offer the experience and legal expertise you need to fight your disorderly conduct charge. We will listen to your side of the story and find the best defense to prove your innocence. If you are cited for disorderly conduct or “disturbing the peace,” call us right away to talk to one of our legal team to begin building your case.