San Diego Disorderly Conduct Defense Attorneys
The charge of disorderly conduct, also called disturbing the peace, is outlined by California Penal Code Section 647. To be charged with this crime, a person must have been behaving in an offensive or disruptive way that interrupted other people from enjoying a public space. Many disorderly conduct charges involve drugs or alcohol, but that does not necessarily mean that these charges will be laid on the accused as well.
One big problem with disorderly conduct charges is that what is simply "enjoying life" to one person may be "offensive" or "disruptive" to another. While disorderly conduct charges may seem like a minor offense and not a major issue, if a charge results in a conviction, it could cause you serious problems.
Those who are charged with disorderly conduct should speak to a San Diego criminal defense attorney right away. The consequences of being convicted of a crime will remain with a person for the rest of his or her life. At jD Law Criminal Defense Attorneys, we fight hard to make sure that does not happen! Call us today at (760) 630-2000 to schedule a free consultation.
There are different types of disorderly conduct outlined in California’s Penal Code. These include:
- Improper sexual conduct
- Unlawful lodging or loitering
- Drunk and disorderly behavior
- Fighting, using offensive words
- Refusal of a group to disassemble
The Penal Code also includes disturbing the peace on a school campus as a violation. Penal Code Section 415 states that if a non-student is being unreasonably loud or using offensive language while on the campus, he or she can be charged with disorderly conduct. When individuals have previously been charged with this crime, their convictions will increase with each offense.
In California, disorderly conduct is treated as a misdemeanor offense. In most cases, those convicted will face up to $1,000 in fines and up to six months in jail. In cases of disturbing the peace on a school campus, the first conviction will result in up to $400 in fines and/or 90 days in jail.
While the short-term penalties for disorderly conduct may seem relatively minor, the long-term consequences are worse.
Disorderly conduct charges can be so vague that the prosecution may choose to turn them into less serious infractions. Whatever the prosecution decides to do, there are a few common defenses to a charge of disorderly conduct.
The first is that the individual lacked criminal intent. If a person was simply trying to have a good time and inadvertently bothered other people, this should not be a crime.
A person may also be charged with disorderly conduct, but his or her behavior was protected under the Constitution. Protesters who demonstrate at a public gathering, for example, may be protected under the Constitution and therefore, may not be prosecuted.
Like with any other crime, a person can be falsely accused of disorderly conduct. When that occurs, providing a statement of where the individual was at the time of the crime may be enough of a defense.
While disorderly conduct may be considered a misdemeanor, it is still important for anyone charged with disorderly conduct to speak to an attorney. Being convicted of a misdemeanor will still appear on your permanent criminal record and can prevent you from gaining employment or housing, as well as other opportunities.
If you have been arrested for or charged with disorderly conduct in San Diego or the North County area, call jD Law Criminal Defense Attorneys at (760) 630-2000. The charge may seem minor, but if you are convicted, it can affect the rest of your life. Founding attorney James N. Dicks is a former cop and a board-certified criminal defense specialist. He and his team will fight to get you the most successful outcome. Your consultation is free – call today!
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