Often called “disturbing the peace,” disorderly conduct is a crime that can be charged at the misdemeanor or felony level. This can be a bit of a confusing charge since there are quite a lot of ways to be charged with disorderly conduct.
It should come as no surprise that if you act in a disorderly manner in public, you are likely to face consequences. But what happens when you engage in disorderly conduct on your own property? This question is a little harder to answer.
You can end up charged with disorderly conduct for the way that you behave on your own property. However, it does take a lot more effort to end up with a disorderly conduct charge on your own property since the privacy it offers can keep a lot of behavior out of public eyes and, therefore, away from the police.
To better understand how you could end up charged with disorderly conduct on your own property in Mesa, we will need to first look at what constitutes disorderly conduct. With this definition in mind, we’ll be able to see what kinds of actions could get you charged with disorderly conduct, as well as what avenues are available for defending against a charge of disorderly conduct.
What Constitutes Disorderly Conduct?
To understand what constitutes disorderly conduct, we should turn our attention over to Arizona Revised Statutes 13-2904. This tells us that disorderly conduct is committed when a person “with intent to disturb the peace or quiet of a neighborhood, family or person, or with knowledge of doing so” engages in the following:
- Fighting, violent, or seriously disruptive behavior.
- Making unreasonable noise.
- Abusive or offensive language or gestures to any person present in a manner likely to provoke immediate physical retaliation by such person.
- Making any protracted commotion, utterance, or display with the intent to prevent the transaction of the business of a lawful meeting, gathering, or procession.
- Refusing to obey a lawful order to disperse.
- The reckless handling, displaying or discharging of a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument.
The language that 13-2904 is written in is a little hollow, so let’s look at a few quick examples of disorderly conduct in action. You could be charged with disorderly conduct if:
- You were fighting with those around you.
- You were making unreasonable amounts of noise.
- You refused to leave an area after being directed to do so by somebody in an official capacity.
- You brandished a weapon in an inappropriate place.
- You turn the music up too loud.
- You allow your dog to bark excessively.
- You challenge somebody to a fight.
These are just a few of the ways that you could be charged with disorderly conduct. However, the main concept behind this crime is the idea that you are disturbing the public’s peace. Let’s turn our attention over to how you could end up with a charge of disorderly conduct on your own property.
How Could You Be Charged With Disorderly Conduct on Your Own Property?
While disorderly conduct is most often associated with being out in public, since that is where it is the easiest to disturb the peace of a neighborhood, it is also relatively easy to end up charged with disorderly conduct for the behavior you engage in on your own property.
For example, pretend for a moment that you are throwing a party. There are drinks, friends, family, and lots of laughs. You’re all talking, drinking, and enjoying some music when there’s a knock on the door. A police officer is on the step to inform you that they received a noise complaint from a neighbor, so they ask you to turn down the music. You do so. So, at this point, you aren’t in trouble.
But as the night goes on and you have more drinks, the volume starts to rise again. This time it isn’t the music, but guests are now shouting over each other to be heard. The energy is still positive, but when the police return, you are charged with disorderly conduct.
This is just one example of how it could happen. For another, say that party spills out into the backyard, and you get into a fight with one of your guests. Your neighbors may see this, report it to the police, and you could end up charged with disorderly conduct.
While you are granted a lot more freedom on your own property, disorderly conduct can be charged when your behavior starts to affect those around your property, like your neighbors or people passing through the neighborhood.
What Defenses Are There Against a Charge of Disorderly Conduct?
There are a number of different defenses that can be used to fight against a charge of disorderly conduct. The hard part about fighting against a charge like this is determining which defense strategy is the most appropriate.
Disorderly conduct is a reasonably wide-ranging charge, which means that one person can face a charge of disorderly conduct for entirely different reasons than the next person does. You need to match the defensive strategy to the unique circumstances of the offense.
This could mean arguing that you were attempting to protect somebody that can’t defend themselves from harm or that there was evidence that shows your behavior wasn’t that disorderly. These are just two of the many defenses that your attorney may consider.
When Should I Contact an Attorney?
You should reach out to an experienced attorney as soon as you have been charged with disorderly conduct. This will give them plenty of time to investigate the circumstances of your arrest and your charges, which is necessary to decide on the best angle to approach your defense.
An experienced attorney may even be able to spot problems with your arrest, such as violations of your constitutional rights or police brutality, that could result in the charges being dismissed. Reach out to an experienced attorney to be proactive about your defense.