Disorderly conduct is behavior that disturbs the general peace in the community, offends public morals or threatens public safety. Disorderly conduct generally describes minor offenses, such as fighting or urinating in public, public drunkenness and making loud and unreasonable noise in public. Examples of Disorderly Conduct offenses include:
- Throwing a rock concert in the back yard of one's home
- Fighting in a public park or the street
- Engaging in obscene or foul language in public
Disorderly Conduct law is defined in California Penal Code Section 647 and covers a wide range of crimes, such as:
- Soliciting or engaging in lewd conduct in a public place
- Soliciting or engaging in prostitution (i.e., sex for money)
- Begging or soliciting alms
- Loitering around a public toilet for lewd activity
- Squatting - residing in a house or another place without the owner's permission
- Prowling -- standing or wandering around another person's privately owned property without a lawful reason for doing so
- Window or electronic peeping.
Disorderly Conduct offenses are prosecuted as misdemeanors in California. A conviction for Disorderly Conduct is punishable by up to 180 days in county jail. It is not likely that a first offense will result in jail time; but if the circumstances are serious and/or the defendant is a repeat offender, a Disorderly Conduct conviction can lead to additional county jail time and/or community labor. A knowledgeable and skilled criminal defense lawyer can focus the prosecutor's attention on the factual weaknesses of the case in the hopes of reducing the charge or obtaining a dismissal.
If you are facing a Disorderly Conduct charge, consult with an experienced Criminal Defense Attorney to learn what legal options are available to you.