Denton Disorderly Conduct Lawyers
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Disorderly conduct is a common criminal charge, usually committed by minors or students, and covers several inappropriate and offensive behaviors.
You may be charged if you aggressively threaten someone in a public place, or if you fire a weapon in your neighborhood. However, many people are arrested for seemingly harmless actions, such as gesturing to another person in a lewd way, looking through a neighbor’s window, or walking into an occupied restroom.
If you are accused of disorderly conduct, it may feel as if you are being treated unfairly. A criminal defense lawyer understands how to present your side of the story in a compelling way.
What Is Considered Disorderly Conduct?
In Texas, disorderly conduct is what is known as a “catch-all” charge. Most of these cases originate when someone makes a call about offensive behavior, or when a person causes a disruption in a public place. A broad definition is engaging in any activity that disturbs the peace.
As stated in Section 42.01 of the Texas Penal Code, the following can lead to disorderly conduct charges:
- Causing a disruption through vulgar language or any phrase or statement in a public place that leads to people being offended.
- Creating an odor that disrupts the peace. This could be caused by a marijuana cigarette, fumes from spray paint, or any other chemical that is noticeable or hazardous.
- Gesturing at someone in an offensive manner. If you decide to give a person the middle finger, which causes a disturbance of the peace, it could be reported to police.
- Making excessive noise in a public place.
- Engaging in a physical altercation or subjecting another individual to verbal abuse in public.
- Firing a gun in a public place.
- Exposing genitalia in an obvious manner. If there are children around, you may face an indecency charge as well.
- Looking into a person’s home while trespassing, or looking into someone else’s hotel room.
Disorderly Conduct as a Reduced Charge
In many cases, lawyers may fight to have more serious offenses reduced to disorderly conduct. This is largely because the charge is only a misdemeanor and may not carry jail time or any of the other penalties arising from a felony conviction.
When criminal charges are reduced, it often happens as part of a plea agreement. In exchange for a lesser charge and greatly reduced penalties, you must agree to plead guilty. These deals can also be made in high profile cases where police are desperate for additional information.
Disorderly conduct is often associated with drug possession or public intoxication.
Penalties of a Disorderly Conduct Conviction
The majority of disorderly conduct acts are classified as Class C misdemeanors. In Texas, this level is the least serious.
However, if you discharge a firearm in public or display a gun with the intent to cause unrest, you may be convicted of a Class B misdemeanor.
Conviction penalties for disorderly conduct include, but are not limited to:
- Class C Misdemeanor: A fine of up to $500
- Class B Misdemeanor: A fine of up to $2,000 and up to 180 days imprisoned
Many people believe that being convicted of a relatively minor crime will not affect their chances of employment. However, a disorderly conduct conviction will stay on your criminal record, which means that it can show up on a background check. Many potential employers see a criminal conviction as a red flag and may stop communicating with you once they learn about your past.
A criminal record may also make it difficult to continue your education. For example, most universities have hard and fast rules about the conduct of current and potential students. A student who breaks any state or federal laws may be suspended or expelled.
Defending Against a Disorderly Conduct Charge
There are many ways to get a disorderly conduct charge dismissed. Under Section 42.01 of the Texas Penal Code, self-defense or protection from an animal can be used as a defense if you are being accused of discharging or displaying a weapon. If you were arrested for vulgar language or offensive gestures, it might be argued that you had no intention of causing harm. You may be able to claim that you yelled on accident, or that your actions were not directed at anyone in particular.
A.G. – Denton Misdemeanor Assault Family Violence Not Guilty
State presented seven eye-witnesses to dispute our claim of self-defense.
J.P. – Dallas Felony Indecent Exposure Case Dismissed
Original offer was 5 years in prison. After our investigation prior to trial, we discovered enough inconsistencies to convince the DA to dismiss!
H.R. – Denton Felony Aggravated Assault Not Guilty
Not guilty verdict despite 3rd party-eye witness who testified my client went out to his car and grabbed a tire iron and chased after the victim and beat him repeatedly over the head. This is self-defense at it's finest.
S.M. – Denton Murder Case Dismissed
M.J. - Dallas Aggravated Sexual Assault of Child Not Guilty
Substituted in for another attorney because client did not want to accept 8 years in prison.
A.P.G. – Denton Aggravated Sex Assault of Child & 3 Counts of Indecency with a Child Not Guilty - Jury Trial
S.B. – Cooke County Felony Theft Case Dismissed
Dismissed the day before trial due to inadequate DNA evidence.
Dr. J.B. – DWI with Multiple Drug Charges Cases Dismissed
All drug cases dismissed as well as a subsequent DWI while the client was on Probation.
Dr. R.C. – Tarrant DWI Not Guilty
J.G. - Denton Felony Drug Charge Case Dismissed
Dismissed due to invalid search.
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