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Posted on August 31, 2017 in Crime

What are the Repercussions of Disorderly Conduct?

Every state has laws on the books aimed at maintaining peace, law, and order. It is against the law for individuals to “disturb the peace” or otherwise act as public nuisances. One of the terms most people know but may not fully understand is “disorderly conduct.” This is a catch-all term describing any disruptive behavior in a public area that distresses others in the area but does not pose any immediate public danger.

What is Disorderly Conduct?

Each state has its own definition of disorderly conduct. In Arizona, disorderly conduct is defined as “A person commits disorderly conduct if, with intent to disturb the peace or quiet of a neighborhood, family or person, or with knowledge of doing so.”  In some states, possessing alcoholic containers in public or noise violations at night will lead to disorderly conduct charges.

Since disorderly conduct incidents are typically nonviolent and not dangerous in nature, police officers typically address disorderly conduct incidents on a case-by-case basis. In some instances, an officer may only issue a citation, requiring the individual to pay a fine without incurring criminal penalties. For more serious issues or more disruptive behavior, police officers may remand the individual to the local jail until someone comes to bail the individual out.

Stopping Disorderly Conduct

Ideally, the police should only intervene with disorderly conduct incidents if the private citizens involved cannot sort the situation out for themselves. In some cases, particular individuals will regularly disrupt others in the area, creating a consistent nuisance. People who are bothered by the disruptive actions of neighbors or others in the area should start by asking the disruptive individuals to stop their behavior. Explain why you think the behavior is disruptive and politely ask them to stop. If they refuse or continue to behave in a distressing manner despite your polite requests for them to stop, you can then involve law enforcement.

The police typically respond to calls concerning disorderly conduct by assessing the disruption the individual is causing to the area and how the other people nearby have been affected. In most situations, just the arrival of police on the scene can be enough to deter similar behavior in the future. The police may issue a fair warning and then leave, but will return if the individual disregards the warning continues to be disruptive. At this point, the police will take action to prevent further similar behavior in the future.

Your Legal Options

After suffering harassment or prolonged disruptive behaviors from another person, aggrieved individuals can connect with attorneys to file lawsuits or apply for protective orders. A civil action like a restraining order, an injunction, or other legal action can help victims of disorderly conduct regain a sense of normalcy. If you have experienced disruptive behavior on a regular basis from a particular person or household, try taking these steps to correct the situation. If you are unable to do so, an attorney can help you build a lawsuit against the disorderly individual, to both compensate you for any losses the disruptions have caused and insulate you from further disruptions in the future.

If you have questions about your area’s disorderly conduct laws, speak with your local police officers for more information. If you believe the time has come for a restraining order or other legal remedies, speak with an experienced Phoenix defense attorney.