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Disorderly Conduct and Breach of Peace

The crime of disorderly conduct can mean many different things depending on the situation. You can commit this crime by acting in any way that disrupts the public, like fighting, yelling, or otherwise endangering public safety. Florida Statute 877.03 defines these acts as those that “…corrupt the public morals… outrage the sense of public decency, or affect the peace and quiet of persons who may witness them.” The statute also defines the crime to include any kind of brawling or fighting.

As you can tell, this is quite a broad definition of the crime. As a result, there are many actions that can result in a charge of disorderly conduct or breach of peace. If you or someone you know has been charged with this crime, contact an aggressive Tampa disorderly conduct attorney at Pallegar Law, P.A. today.

Penalties of a Disorderly Conduct Conviction

The crime of disorderly conduct is classified as a second- degree misdemeanor. It’s punishable by 60 days in jail, six months of probation, and $500 in fines. Although the punishments are relatively minor, if you have been charged with this crime you face potential jail time. The more disruptive or disrespectful your actions were, or if alcohol or drugs were involved, the more severe your punishment may be. That is why it is important to contact a skilled Tampa disorderly conduct attorney at Pallegar Law, P.A.

For first-time offenders, a disorderly conduct arrest or charge may result in the creation of a permanent criminal record. If you or someone you know has been charged with this crime, it is important to consult with an experienced Tampa Criminal Defense Attorney to explore your options. Because the category of disorderly conduct crimes is so broad, there are many defenses that your attorney may utilize in order to defend your case.

Defenses to a Disorderly Conduct Charge

The First Amendment protects the rights of all Americans to free speech. For purely verbal offenses to be considered disorderly conduct, they must fall into one of two categories: fighting words, or a shout of “fire” in a crowded area. “Fighting words” are determined to be words that directly incite violence, inflict injury, or immediately breach the peace. For example, Person A spends their evening walking around a crowded downtown area making animal noises. This causes people to be annoyed, and a small crowd eventually gathers to watch. Person A is protected under the First Amendment, and unless their verbal conduct incites violence, injury, or mayhem, they are not committing a crime.

Contrary to the second category of verbal offenses which includes shouting “fire” in a crowded area. This is typically assumed to be a false warning that creates a clear danger to others. If Person B is in a crowded shopping mall and shouts “fire”, even though there is no visible fire, people will begin to seek safety using any means possible. This can lead to trampling and other injuries that are caused when many people attempt to exit a crowded area at once.

Disorderly conduct does not include mere yelling or cursing, or making a scene so that a crowd gathers (Person A). Self-defense may be a valid defense to a charge of disorderly conduct that involves fighting. Consulting an aggressive Tampa disorderly conduct attorney will allow you explore all the possible defenses to your charge so that we can help you fight the charges.

Call a Tampa Criminal Defense Attorney Today

If you or someone you know has been charged with disorderly conduct or breach of peace or any other crime, call us today for a no-charge consultation. Call Pallegar Law, P.A. at 813-444-3912.

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