Washington D.C. Criminal Defense Lawyer
Sometimes what you might think is having fun or being harmlessly rowdy
is actually seen as a criminal violation by law enforcement. If you have
been arrested and charged with disorderly conduct in Washington D.C.,
you need to take your case seriously and prepare your defense right away.
If you do not, you could be slammed with unexpectedly harsh criminal penalties.
Penalties you could face upon conviction include:
- Fine up to $1,000
- Up to 180 days in jail
- Lengthy probation after release
- Community service
As disorderly conduct is a blanket term used to describe a number of inappropriate
and illegal behaviors, the actual penalties you face can vary. In some
instances, fines may exceed $10,000 and come with a 10-year prison sentence.
Regardless of the severity, you should
contact our Washington D.C. criminal defense attorneys at
Hunter & Johnson, PLLC.
Different Forms of Disorderly Conduct
Disorderly conduct is sometimes synonymous with disturbing the peace or
breaching the peace charges. By legal definition, if you do or say anything
that could cause others to feel angry, frustrated, scared, or annoying,
or if you encourage someone else to engage in a criminal act, you could
be charged with disorderly conduct. The definition is kept intentionally
vague so that disorderly conduct can be tacked onto nearly any other criminal
charge, but there are specific examples as well.
Public intoxication: Having one too many alcoholic drinks in a public place can constitute disorderly
conduct. Contrary to popular belief, you could be arrested for public
intoxication even if you are lawfully inside of a bar or pub.
Noise violations: Between the hours of 10:00 PM and 7:00 AM, noise must be kept at a reasonable
level as to not disturb and wake others. Shouting or using universally
offensive language to incite another person is also illegal.
Public nuisance: If you relieve yourself in public for any reason, even if you are clinically
ill and cannot control your bladder or bowel, you could be charged for
disorderly conduct. Peeping or spying on someone when they believed they
had privacy is also akin to causing an illegal nuisance.
Inciting a riot: Washington D.C. law considers a group of five or more people acting in
a reckless or intentionally unlawful way a riot. If you partake or encourage
in this behavior, even if no damage is done, you can be arrested. Just
throwing a stone or another hard object in a public, occupied space may
be considered illegal and riotous.
Obstruction: Simply blocking a passageway or the movement of someone traveling through
a public area can be a misdemeanor disorderly conduct crime. In most cases,
you would have to be warned by the police to cease your obstruction before
you could be arrested.
Dog laws: You cannot allow a dangerous dog to come off its leash in a public space,
nor may you encourage, partake in, or know about illegal dog fighting
without contacting the police.
Your Defense Starts with Us
Due to the ambiguous nature of a disorderly charge, much of the evidence
against you will likely come from testimonies from the arresting officer
or witnesses. Defending yourself from the charges can depend entirely
on your ability to cross-examine the prosecution’s witnesses and
dissuade the jury from seeing things their way. If you are not familiar
with how this is done, worry not, for our Washington D.C. criminal defense
attorneys have years of experience doing just that. Call us at
202.759.7929 to schedule your