In Texas, the crime of disorderly conduct encompasses a wide range of actions. Those convicted of disorderly conduct may face jail time, hefty fines, and, of course, they will have a criminal record. A criminal record may affect someone’s ability to secure employment, to apply for certain degree programs, and to engage in the local community. Hiring a criminal defense attorney to fight disorderly conduct charges increases the likelihood that these charges may be reduced or dismissed. The sooner someone accused of disorderly conduct hires a criminal defense attorney, the more likely it is that the accused will experience a favorable result in the case.
What is disorderly conduct?
Disorderly conduct includes a variety of actions, such as intentionally or knowingly:
- Using abusive or vulgar language in public that likely incites a breach of peace;
- Making an offensive gesture in public that likely incites a breach of peace;
- Through a chemical reaction, creating a noxious odor in public;
- Threatening or abusing someone in public;
- Making an unreasonable amount of noise in public, or in or near private property the offender has no right to occupy;
- Fighting with someone in public;
- Firing a gun in public or across a public road;
- Displaying a gun in public so as to cause alarm;
- Exposing the anus or genitals in public in a manner that is reckless about others who are present may be offended; or
- Looking through a window, hotel room, or restroom or dressing room stall for a lewd or unlawful reason.
Therefore, disorderly conduct charges may be appropriate for individuals fighting outside of a bar, or they may be charged for peeping in someone’s window. When others see that you have been charged with disorderly conduct, they will have no way of knowing what offense was actually committed. This is another reason why it is so important to hire an attorney as soon as possible to fight these charges.
Penalties for disorderly conduct
Most instances of disorderly conduct are class C misdemeanors.
Class C misdemeanors carry a fine of no more than $500.
However, if the disorderly conduct charges stemmed from the offender’s firing or display of a firearm, the crime is a class B misdemeanor.
Class B misdemeanors may result in incarceration of up to 180 days, as well as a fine of no more than $2,000.
Defenses to disorderly conduct charges
Prosecutors have the burden of proof in criminal cases. Every element of a crime must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt for the accused to be convicted. To prove a crime beyond a reasonable doubt, the prosecutor must show that a jury could draw no other conclusion but that the accused actually committed the crime.
For disorderly conduct charges that involve violence, such as fighting or firing a weapon, it may be possible to argue self-defense. The accused must show that he or she was in fear of being harmed by the victim. In many cases, being threatened by an animal is also a valid defense for discharging a firearm.
With the assistance of an attorney, the accused may also be able to argue that he or she was not the one that committed the crime. Many individuals are falsely accused of disorderly conduct because witnesses mistakenly accuse them of illegal behavior.
If you have been arrested for disorderly conduct, do not delay in seeking counsel
At the Hampton Eppes Law Group, we are prepared to help you fight disorderly conduct charges. Brian Eppes is a former prosecutor experienced in many types of cases. To schedule your free consultation, call 817-877-5201 or visit www.hamptonlegalgroup.com.