Disorderly conduct is any behavior that disrupts peace in public spaces shared with other people. Disorderly conduct includes making a loud noise, fighting on the street, and being drunk and disorderly. You can be arrested for disorderly conduct in your home in Florida and all states.
Loud music and parties that get out of control within your home could get you arrested for disorderliness. If you’re facing such charges, consult a Tampa criminal defense lawyer regarding the charge. They can evaluate and investigate the case to help you create a strong defense strategy to protect you from hefty penalties.
How Does the Law Define Disorderly Conduct in Florida?
In Florida, the definition of disorderly conduct encompasses various factual scenarios. Despite the broad language, a conviction may not stand where the accused merely displays a quarrelsome attitude, creates annoyance, or uses profanity, causing a crowd to gather. However, Florida Statues Section 877.03 states that disorderly conduct happens when the accused commits an act that:
- Affects the peace of those who may witness the act
- Outrages the sense of public decency
- Corrupts public morals
- Constitutes a breach of quiet or disorderly conduct
- Entails brawling or fighting
An example of disorderly conduct in your home that might get you arrested is participating in a fight where evidence shows that you provoked the fight. You can also be charged with engaging in loud and aggressive behavior that interferes with the ability of police officers to conduct investigations at your home. Contact a disorderly conduct defense lawyer in Tampa for help.
Is Disorderly Intoxication Part of Disorderly Conduct
Section 856.011(1) states that:
- A person shall not be intoxicated and endanger the safety of property or another person.
- A person shall not be intoxicated or drunk in a public place or upon any public conveyance and cause disturbance.
So, it’s illegal for an intoxicated individual to cause danger to other people or property or cause disturbance in public places.
How Serious is the Public Intoxication Offense in Florida?
Disorderly conduct and disorderly intoxication are second-degree misdemeanors in Florida. Upon conviction, both offenses can earn you the following:
- Up to 60 days in jail
- A fine of up to $500.
In addition to these penalties, a conviction of disorderly conduct three times in 12 months can see you committed to a rehabilitation facility for up to 60 days. If you have been arrested and charged with disorderly conduct, it’s in your best interest to contact a Tampa disorderly conduct defense lawyer as soon as possible.
They can fight to have the penalties reduced, or the charges dropped if the court finds the charges less severe. Remember not to say anything to the police, as they may use it against you in court.
What Does It Take to Convict Me with Disorderly Conduct?
To punish public disorderliness as an offense, prosecutors must prove several elements in court to get you a conviction:
Causing Disturbance or Harm to Property, Other People, or Oneself
The law requires the prosecution to show that the defendant created some form of disturbance, for example, injuring other people, posing a threat, or damaging property. In most cases, this element isn’t too hard to prove, as using offensive language or blocking pathways could be enough to prove the case.
An officer with reason to believe that a person’s behavior or intoxication threatened public safety might take them into custody and charge them with the offense.
Being Under the Influence of an Intoxicating Substance
In most cases, a person accused of disorderly conduct must have been intoxicated by alcohol, controlled substances, or illegal drugs. The prosecution must prove one or more of these substances in a disorderly conduct case. However, how they prove that the intoxication accounts for the disorderliness is another matter.
The testimony of the arresting officer and other witnesses regarding the accused person’s behavior and appearance at the time of the arrest can be sufficient to make the jury determine intoxication. In some cases, the appearance of being intoxicated is enough.
What Are the Defenses to Disorderly Conduct
When charged with disorderly conduct, the most natural defense is “it wasn’t me,” but this may not be enough to protect your freedom. That’s why hiring a Tampa disorderly conduct defense lawyer is crucial to providing legal representation. They can try to poke holes into the evidence presented by the prosecuting attorney to show some elements that weren’t proven.
They may also argue that:
You Were Not Intoxicated
Your lawyer can argue that you were not intoxicated during the arrest. However, since juries will be more inclined to the testimony given by the arresting officer, it can be hard to substantiate your claim unless you have concrete evidence, like a blood alcohol test showing you were not intoxicated at the time of the arrest.
No Disturbance or Harm Caused
You can argue that you didn’t cause harm or disturbance to yourself or others. Your attorney can call in witnesses to show that you were not bothering anyone or anything.
Not a Public Place
The defense can show that the arrest was not in a public place or that you were involuntarily in a public place. However, since you can be arrested for public disorderliness on your premises, you may have to strengthen this defense by showing you caused no harm, didn’t disturb anyone, and posed no threat to property or people.
Learn Your Legal Options from an Experienced Defense Professional in Tampa
Disorderly conduct may seem like a minor charge, and you may even think you can’t be arrested for the offense on your property. However, the law in Florida allows law enforcers to arrest offenders for public disorderliness and intoxication on private premises. Contact a criminal defense attorney in Tampa for counsel if you’re in such a situation.
Our skilled Tampa disorderly conduct defense attorney can fight for you. Having our legal professional by your side when facing charges enhances your chances of a favorable outcome. Invest in a skilled and aggressive attorney to fight and secure your freedom and keep your records clean. Contact us today