The disorderly conduct charge is one of the most broadly written statutes on the books in Arizona. Since the law is so broad, the crime can be defined in any number of ways. It’s up to the police at the scene to interpret the law and decide if a disorderly conduct charge is warranted. In fact, it is not unheard of for officers to cite an individual with disorderly conduct if they cannot think of another charge against them.
Arizona Disorderly Conduct LawsUnder ARS 13-2904, disorderly conduct is defined as occurring when an individual knowingly “disturbs the peace” of a neighborhood, person, or group. As you can see, this broad definition may cover a lot of offenses, including:
- Being ‘unreasonably’ noisy;
- Behavior, defined as “fighting”, “violent” or “disruptive”;
- Using offensive physical gestures or language that could provoke someone to retaliate;
- Preventing others from going about their normal business or disturbing them while they are doing so;
- Loitering or refusing to disperse a public gathering
Defending a Disorderly Conduct ChargeWhile a conviction for disorderly conduct may seem relatively minor, it can have serious consequences on your life and your livelihood. An employer may see the conviction as a basis for not hiring you. You may also have difficulty securing education, housing, and other essential services. If the police charge you with disorderly conduct, make sure you invoke your right to remain silent. For the state to convict you of disorderly conduct, they have to prove that you had “knowingly” “disturbed the peace.” Any statement that you make to the police may be used against you to show intent. Despite what police would have you believe, staying silent does not mean you are guilty. Rather, it is a way of protecting yourself against possible abuse by law enforcement officers who may twist your words to secure a conviction. An experienced attorney may be able to get the charges dismissed. Usually, it boils down to someone making a complaint against you and that person claiming that you knowingly bothered them. The state still has to prove intent beyond a reasonable doubt. The witness or complainant against you may also have ulterior motives or credibility issues that a lawyer can bring out in court. Even if you are convicted, and this is your first offense, the judge may take this into account during sentencing and choose to give you a lighter sentence. For instance, they may only require you to render community service or pay a fine, and not sentence you to jail time. Attorney Robert Dodell is an experienced defense attorney who can help you get the best outcome for your disorderly conduct case. He will conduct his own investigation to determine the facts, and use these to defend you if you go to trial. You need to protect yourself from a criminal record.
Robert A. Dodell, Attorney at Law - Serving Scottsdale, Tempe & Mesa, AZ
10601 N Hayden Rd, #I-103
Scottsdale, AZ 85260