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DC Disorderly Conduct Lawyer

The District of Columbia’s law on disorderly conduct covers seven different potential scenarios. Any individual violating any provision could be guilty of the misdemeanor of disorderly conduct and face up to $500 in fines, up to 90 days in jail, or both.

Even though disorderly conduct is a relatively minor charge compared to other criminal offenses, it can still lead to fines, jail time, and a permanent criminal record. A permanent criminal record can have a multi-faceted negative impact in your life, including your employability, security clearance, ability to obtain loans, and education opportunities. If you have been charged with this crime, please contact a DC disorderly conduct lawyer today. Our skilled defense attorneys could explain your exact charges and determine how to move forward with your case.

What is Disorderly Conduct?

Disorderly conduct typically occurs when someone is accused of disturbing the peace. This can happen in many situations, which are all covered by various provisions of the disorderly conduct statute. One provision only covers activity occurring in areas open to the public and/or communal areas of multi-unit housing. In these areas, disorderly conduct occurs when a person:

  1. Recklessly or deliberately acts in a way that causes another individual to have reasonable fear that someone or something someone possesses is likely to be taken or harmed, or;
  2. Incites/provokes violence in a situation where it is likely violence will occur, or;
  3. Uses offensive or abusive language/gestures specifically directed at an individual, and in a manner likely to provoke retaliation by that individual or another person.

Someone may also be accused of disorderly conduct in situations where a person uses loud, abusive, or threatening language, or disruptive conduct, to disrupt a lawful public gathering, religious service or worship, funeral, or other similar gatherings. These charges may also apply to disruptions that interfere with the lawful use of public transportation by one or more people. Other actions that may constitute disorderly conduct include:

  • Making unreasonably loud noises that disturb people in their residences between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m.
  • Urinating or defecating in public
  • Peering through a window or opening of a dwelling
  • Unnecessarily bumping or crowding another person in a public space
  • Reaching toward someone’s purse, pocketbook, or wallet.
  • Public intoxication

A lawyer in DC could help someone accused of any of these types of disorderly conduct charges.

Defenses for Disorderly Conduct

There are various defenses that an attorney in DC could use in a disorderly conduct case. Depending on the exact offense, some potential defense strategies may include:

  • Lack of sufficient evidence
  • Mistaken identity
  • Arguing that there was a lack of reasonable fear
  • Arguing free speech if the allegations involved an alleged heated argument

A skilled attorney may also be able to build a solid defense by pointing out inconsistencies or weaknesses in the arresting officer’s story as these testimonies are typically central to a prosecutor’s argument in these cases.

How a DC Disorderly Conduct Attorney Can Help

While these charges may seem like no big deal, they can still have serious consequences as it can become a part of criminal record. Therefore, if you have been charged with disorderly conduct, call our office today. Our DC disorderly conduct lawyer could help you prepare a defense and mitigate any penalties you may be facing.

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