The crime of disorderly conduct is sometimes described as a “catchall” for a variety of acts and behaviors that are considered disorderly and disruptive to the public at large. While disorderly conduct is only a misdemeanor offense, having a charge of disorderly conduct on your record can still harm your reputation and limit your future opportunities. If you are facing disorderly conduct charges in our state, reach out to The Law Office of Paul R. Moraski today for the legal support you need and deserve.
What Is Disorderly Conduct?
Disorderly conduct is found in Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 272, Section 53 under “Penalty for certain offenses.” According to the statute, persons who engage in “offensive and disorderly acts or language or accost or annoy another person” have committed a crime. The statute continues on to also refer to lewd and lascivious speech and behavior, as well as indecent exposure.
Types of behaviors that are sometimes characterized as disorderly conduct include:
- Engaging in fights
- Making threats
- Being excessively noisy
- Creating a dangerous condition
- Getting out of control in a bar, sporting event, or another venue
- Engaging in public urination
- Threatening law enforcement officers
Of course, the statute is so broad that the above list is not inclusive. You may be charged with disorderly conduct for engaging in behaviors not listed above.
What the Prosecution Must Prove to Secure a Conviction of Disorderly Conduct
While the statute is broad, the state has the burden of proving three elements in order to find a defendant guilty of disorderly conduct:
- The defendant engaged in either fighting or threatening behaviors, or violent or tumultuous behavior, or created a hazardous or physically offensive condition;
- The defendant’s actions were reasonably likely to affect the public; and
- The defendant caused or intended to cause public inconvenience or alarm, or recklessly created such conditions.
Again, the burden is on the prosecution to satisfy these elements beyond a reasonable doubt.
Penalties for Disorderly Conduct
If a person is found guilty of disorderly conduct, they can face a penalty of a fine of up to $150 for a first offense. For a subsequent offense, the fine may increase to $200, and there is the possibility of imprisonment for up to six months.
Call The Law Offices of Paul R. Moraski Today
While disorderly conduct is a relatively minor offense, no one wants a disorderly conduct charge on their permanent record, let alone the possibility of spending time in jail for a conviction. At The Law Office of Paul R. Moraski, we can help you to understand your legal options when you’re facing a disorderly conduct charge. Our criminal defense attorney in Massachusetts has years of experience and a reputation for excellence. Reach out to us today at (978) 397-0011 or by sending us a message online to start working on your defense.