Fresno Disorderly Conduct Lawyer
Call today: (559) 443-7442
Disorderly conduct, disturbing the peace, and refusal to disperse are misdemeanor charges. While the penalties are not as severe as those for felony charges, a conviction may still lead to fines, jail time, a permanent criminal record, and consequences in your personal and professional life.
We know that your case is important to you and the penalties you face could drastically affect your life. Fresno disorderly conduct lawyer Michael McKneely will explore every option to achieve the best outcome for your case. Call Michael McKneely, Criminal Defense Lawyer today at (559) 443-7442 for a free consultation.
Disorderly Conduct Encompasses Many Things Under California Law
California defines disorderly conduct in the California Penal Code § 647. The law contains over a dozen specific actions considered disruptive or inappropriate. Thus, the state’s disorderly conduct statute covers a lot of territories and gives police and prosecutors a lot of leeways. Often, they use it to arrest and charge someone who is:
- Being a public nuisance
- Disrupting the peace of others
- Creating a hazard for others
People who face disorderly conduct charges may feel they were minding their own business or that their behavior did not warrant criminal charges. Any action that does not create a nuisance or disturb others and is not a hazard does not warrant disorderly conduct charges. For example, simply yelling is not enough to substantiate disorderly conduct charges. But yelling in a residential area in the middle of the night and disobeying police instructions to stop could lead to disorderly conduct charges.
Almost any disruptive or offensive action can fall under this category, as can things like fights or public intoxication. Actions that may fall under the umbrella of disorderly conduct include:
- Soliciting a prostitute
- Not leaving when police ask you to
- Public drunkenness
- Urinating in public
- Sex in public
- Unauthorized videos or pictures of nude or partially nude victims
- Peeping into others’ homes or private areas
The best thing to do if you are facing an arrest or charges for disorderly conduct is to listen to and obey the requests of police officers. Behaving in a rebellious or rude way may be harmful to your defense in court. Remember, if you were arrested, you have the right to:
- Remain silent
- An attorney
- A speedy trial
- Due process
- Know your charges
- Freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures
Speak with a disorderly conduct attorney at Michael McKneely, Criminal Defense Lawyer if you are facing charges. We will investigate the incident that led to your charges and start building a case to defend you.
Having an experienced attorney counts in the courtroom. Mike McKneely will be with you every step of the way.
Penalties for a Disorderly Conduct Arrest
Although disorderly conduct charges are typically misdemeanors, the penalties can be severe. The following are a few common disorderly conduct charges and potential penalties in California:
Disorderly Conduct – General disorderly conduct charges that do not fall under any other category are misdemeanors, and subject to the state’s maximum penalties for a misdemeanor. These penalties include $1,000 in fines and up to a year in jail. If you have previous arrests or convictions for similar charges, you may face a stiffer penalty.
Refusal to Disperse – California Penal Code § 409 and California Penal Code § 416 both cover refusal to disperse. This charge, which is a misdemeanor, usually stems from individuals ignoring the police or other authorities who ask them to leave a restricted area. You can generally avoid this type of charge by paying close attention to “No Loitering” signs and following police officers’ instructions.
Disturbing the Peace – The state outlines its definition of “disturbing the peace” in California Penal Code § 415. It refers to the public use of offensive language or loud noises that disturb others. In most cases, offenses are minor, and people face infractions after refusing to turn down music or stop other noise disturbances. Section 415 also includes a section on public fights or provocation of a fight. Even using offensive words in a public place with the intent to provoke others violates this law. Rioting can also fall under the umbrella of disorderly conduct when it disturbs or puts others in danger. The state generally charges this as a misdemeanor. The penalties include up to $400 in fines and up to 90 days in the county jail. Penalties increase for second and subsequent offenses.
Other Consequences of a Disorderly Conduct Conviction
Effects of Your Job – A conviction for disorderly conduct will appear on your criminal record, which potential employers may review when deciding whether to hire you. Some employers may also terminate a current employee convicted of a criminal offense.
Effects on Professional Licenses – A conviction of disorderly conduct or another criminal offense could make you ineligible for certain professional licenses. If you already possess a professional license, a conviction might make your license subject to revocation or other discipline.
Effects on Immigration Visa or Work Permit – If you are in the United States on an immigration visa or have a work permit, a conviction for disorderly conduct or another criminal offense could jeopardize your ability to live and work in the U.S.
Effects on Housing – Landlords or property management companies may deny potential tenants who have a criminal record.
Call Disorderly Conduct Lawyer Michael McKneely
Disorderly conduct convictions can come with stiff penalties and leave a lasting mark on your record. Even minor offenses can come with fines and jail time. We believe that everybody deserves a strong defense attorney. That is why Michael McKneely, Criminal Defense Lawyers makes it our mission to treat you with dignity and respect, be an advocate for your rights to the full extent of the law, make sure you understand your rights, explore every possible solution to achieve the best outcome for your case, conduct a comprehensive investigation of your case, and answer your questions and return your calls.
Call Michael McKneely, Criminal Defense Lawyer today to find out how Mike can help you.
We Build a Comprehensive Defense Against Your Disorderly Conduct Charges
Your case can end in four possible outcomes: case dismissal, reduced charges or penalties through negotiation, acquittal at trial, or conviction. Thorough and comprehensive case preparation is the key to working towards the best outcome. Disorderly conduct lawyer Mike McKneely investigates the circumstances of your arrest and creates a plan to defend you against the disorderly conduct charges.
Some of the possible defenses we may use include:
- You were unaware you were on public property.
- The police acted unethically, such as sticking you with a disorderly conduct charge if they could not charge you with another crime.
- The police mistakenly identified you as someone else.
- The police or another party misunderstood your words or actions.
- You have a right to free speech.
- You acted in self-defense.
If you are facing charges of disorderly conduct in California, please call us to speak with a Fresno criminal defense lawyer who will help you build a defense against the allegations.
We Defend You Against Related Charges Too
Some people facing disorderly conduct charges face other charges that are related to their disorderly conduct arrest. The charges that each person faces depend on the circumstances of the incident and available evidence against you.
In addition to representing you against disorderly conduct charges, we can help you with any related charges you might face too.
Some of the charges that people face in addition to disorderly conduct include:
- Battery, under California Penal Code § 242
- Battery against a police officer, under California Penal Code § 243
- Trespassing, under California Penal Code § 602
- Resisting arrest, under California Penal Code § 148(a)
- Creating or maintaining a public nuisance, under California Penal Code §§ 372 or 373
Facing these or other charges, in addition to disorderly conduct charges, may increase potential penalties.