Disorderly conduct charges in Arizona will come in two forms. Misdemeanor disorderly conduct is the most common, but certain circumstances can bump the charges up to a felony. Even if your charge is only a misdemeanor, it’s still not worth taking your chances. You need to work with an attorney who is prepared to help you fight your charges in an effective manner.
The act of disorderly conduct is described as a lot of things. It can be knowingly making unreasonably loud noise, disrupting the peace of a house, neighborhood, or public place. It can be disrupting the operations of a business or a gathering of people, refusing to vacate the area of a fire or the area of another public emergency, or recklessly handling a weapon. It can even mean intentionally being aggressive or offensive in order to provoke a person or a group of people.
In short, disorderly conduct encompasses a lot of things. Though it’s confusing on the surface, the broad definition of disorderly conduct may ultimately be what helps the defense knock down the case against you.
Since disorderly conduct encompasses such a vast array of behaviors, it can be difficult to know where to start and what the differences are between different types of disorderly conduct charges. Since every case is different, you’re going to need an experienced attorney to break the case apart.
The overwhelming majority of disorderly conduct charges are classified as misdemeanors. They’re only moved up to felony charges if the individual is egregiously violent, most specifically when anything that could reasonably considered a weapon (such as a firearm) is involved in that conduct. Discharging a firearm in an area where firearms aren’t meant to be discharged if the intent was absolutely and definitively not intended to harm a person would be considered felony disorderly conduct.
This charge is sometimes referred to colloquially as “drunk and disorderly,” although alcohol does not have to be a component of the case. Many people are not intoxicated during the incidents that lead to these charges, and being intoxicated in public is an entirely separate issue. You might be charged with disorderly conduct in conjunction with alcohol-related charges, but the two are mutually exclusive.
The disorderly conduct charge becomes a class 6 felony when a firearm is involved. The involvement of a firearm adds a layer to the charge because of the use of a deadly weapon. If there were no weapons involved in the case, disorderly conduct is prosecuted as a class 1 misdemeanor. This is the highest level of misdemeanor, and it can come with up to six months in jail. You might face up to three years of probation, and the terms of your probation might include things like special counselling or classes. In addition to the fines associated with your probation, you can be liable for up to $2,500 in additional fines, plus applicable surcharges. You might wind up being on the hook for thousands upon thousands of dollars when everything is said and done.
While disorderly conduct might not sound like a big deal on the surface, it almost always turns out to be. The consequences are severe, even when the charge is a misdemeanor. You definitely don’t want to deal with the repercussions that come with guilt, and it’s imperative that you find an experienced attorney who knows how to help you fight your charges.
The best defenses against disorderly conduct charges usually challenge the “knowingly or intentionally” part of the law. If it can be proved that you were unaware that your actions were disturbing others, it cannot be claimed that you were intentionally disturbing the peace. If you were having a heated debate and you were unaware that the neighbor closest to you would be able to hear the noise, this defense may be valid.
Felony disorderly conduct is a little different, because it usually involves a firearm. The lawful possession of a firearm does not by itself constitute a crime – it’s a constitutional right. Owning that firearm alone cannot be considered disorderly conduct. If you were acting in a reasonable manner with your firearm, it’s difficult to claim that your conduct was seriously disruptive. Even if you created a small disturbance, the prosecution would need to be able to prove that the disturbance you caused was unreasonable. Witnesses may be able to help you make your case.
Outside of direct rebuttal to the described offense, we’re able to look at the handling of your case and your treatment while you were in custody. If information was obtained from you via coercion or intimidation, or you were denied to speak to legal representation, we will be able to poke holes in the very validity of the case against you.
Whether you need representation for a disorderly conduct misdemeanor or a felony, we know how to help you. These charges are serious, and you need to call us or contact us right away. We’re available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, so you can call us at any time. With a free consultation, we’ll be able to discuss the details of your case with you and begin helping you formulate a defense immediately. Don’t waste any time – let us start aggressively defending you straight away.