In Mesa, Arizona, disorderly conduct charges are also known as “disturbing the peace.” Many disorderly conduct lawyers in Mesa find that this charge is excessively used and often charged when the police can’t find anything else to charge you with.
From a defense standpoint, most criminal defense and disorderly conduct defense lawyers in Mesa find that most of the facts of an “alleged disorderly conduct” charge are commonly overstated and exaggerated by the police who arrested or charged you with this crime.
There is a myriad of behaviors that the Mesa police view as disruptive behavior, which may lead to charges or arrest for disorderly conduct. These include, but are not limited to the following:
- Fighting with others or engaging in any type of combative behavior.
- Making “unreasonably loud” noise.
- Cursing, loud, abusive, or offensive language to another person for provocation or intimidation.
- Engaging in behavior that disrupts normal business operations.
- Refusing to leave an area when directed by officials (the scene of a fire, emergency, etc.).
- Recklessly handling or displaying a firearm (or any dangerous weapon) to intentionally provoke, intimidate, or make someone fear that their harm may be imminent.
As you can see, many of these acts can be “subjective” at best and cover a vast range of behaviors. Consulting with an experienced Mesa criminal defense lawyer is always your best path from letting this charge become more serious.
Just a few of the defense strategies that your criminal defense attorney may use to build your defense are:
- You attempted to protect someone else against harm who could not defend themselves.
- The Wrong person charged – This often happens when groups of people participate in the incident, such as when civil assemblies turn violent.
- No witnesses were present, no evidence, no video, audio, or other evidence to prove you committed disorderly conduct.
- You acted under threat, provocation, or were intimidated.
- Your lawyer uncovers evidence (audio or video) that disproves police allegations.
- Police brutality was involved.
- You were exercising your right to “free speech” under the Constitution in an approved location, in an appropriate, orderly, and peaceful fashion.
- The police weren’t aware that you have a physical or mental impairment that caused you to have “a bad attitude,” with no proof or other justification.
- Your actions were in self-defense, defense of home, property, or family.
- Violations of Your Arizona State or U.S. Constitutional Rights.
- Someone else started the altercation.
What Is The Difference Between a Misdemeanor or Felony Disorderly Conduct Charge?
Never take disorderly conduct charges lightly, as even a class 1 misdemeanor may get you up to 6 months in jail, $2500 in fines and surcharges, and up to 3 years’ probation.
A misdemeanor disorderly conduct may occur when you act to disturb the peace or quiet of a neighborhood, family, or person, and with knowledge of doing so.
Such as you:
- Engage in fighting, violent, or seriously disruptive behavior.
- Make unreasonable noise.
- Use abusive or offensive language or gestures that are likely to provoke immediate physical retaliation from another person.
- Make any type of disruption, utterance, or display with the intent to prevent the transaction of the business or lawful meeting.
- Refuse to obey a lawful order to disperse or are in dangerous proximity to a fire, a hazard, or other emergencies.
The above circumstances may be classified as a class 1 misdemeanor, which is the highest level of a misdemeanor offense and may have severe consequences.
Felony disorderly conduct usually is charged when your actions have the definite intent to disturb the peace or quiet of a neighborhood, family, or person. This is commonly charged when you recklessly handle, display, or discharge a deadly weapon or another dangerous item.
Felony disorderly conduct is a class 6 felony and can impose life-changing penalties. In either case, it’s prudent to consult with a professional Mesa disorderly conduct lawyer immediately if you receive either charge. Your lawyer can get ahead of this dire legal situation and fight for your rights and what’s in your best interests.
What Are Some Penalties for Disorderly Conduct Charges?
The penalties for disorderly conduct charges depend on whether you are charged with a misdemeanor or a felony.
Some of the consequences for each are:
Misdemeanor Disorderly Conduct:
- Up to six months in jail.
- Up to $2500 in fines.
- Victim restitution.
Felony Disorderly Conduct (with no prior felony convictions):
- Four months to 2 years in prison.
- Up to $150,000 in fines.
- Victim restitution.
Felony Disorderly Conduct (with one prior felony conviction):
- Nine months to 2.75 years in prison
- Fines and restitution.
Felony Disorderly Conduct (with two or more prior felony convictions):
- 2.25 to 5.75 years in prison
- Fines and restitution.
It’s vitally important for you to note that the terms of a felony disorderly conduct charge can also be “stacked” on top of each other. In this case, you will need to serve each term consecutively. This makes the charge even more severe, and consulting with a Mesa criminal defense lawyer is mandatory to protect your rights and freedom!
Does a Disorderly Conduct Charge Go On My “Record” in Arizona?
The simple answer is yes, it does! Disorderly conduct can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony offense, and any conviction for this charge will result in a criminal record, no matter the degree of the penalty. This means that you will have a “criminal record” that will show up on background checks for employment, housing, and many other things that you may want in your life. So, even a misdemeanor charge can have dire effects on your life and your family.
Suppose you have a trial for your disorderly conduct charge. In that case, the outcome may be anchored on the judge’s discretion as to whether the behavior fits within the broad definition of disorderly conduct, and many of these cases can be won at trial.
This is a legal area in which your Mesa disorderly conduct lawyer’s experience, knowledge, and thoroughness will be invaluable in winning your case.
I Have Been Charged With Disorderly Conduct in Mesa; How Should I Proceed?
You now know that you never take a disorderly conduct charge lightly in Arizona. When you’re facing a disorderly conduct charge, it is best that you immediately contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer experienced in these cases. Your lawyer will analyze all aspects of your case and navigate the proper legal path to get you the best possible results.
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