In the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the crime of disorderly conduct is one of the most frequent crimes that people engaging in criminal activity are charged with. While this crime is a common occurrence in the State of Pennsylvania, it is important that anyone charged with this crime is aware of the consequences and the steps that can be taken in order to potentially mitigate the legal consequences that come with this crime.
Disorderly Conduct in Pennsylvania: What is it?
In the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, an individual can be found guilty of disorderly conduct when he/she, with the intent to cause public inconvenience, annoyance or alarm, or recklessly creating a risk thereof:
- Engages in fighting or threatening, or in violent behavior
- makes unreasonable noise
- uses obscene language
- makes an obscene gesture
- creates a dangerous or physically offensive condition which serves no legitimate purpose
As the list of offenses shows, disorderly conduct encompasses a wide range of acts that a person could do in public that would render him to being charged with this crime. Common examples of disorderly conduct incidents include:
- Public drunkenness
- Reckless behavior in a crowded area such as sporting events
- Violation of noise ordinances
- Disturbing the Peace
- Behavior that affects public safety
Potential Consequences of a Disorderly Conduct Conviction
Disorderly Conduct is graded as a misdemeanor of the third degree “if the intent of the actor is to cause substantial harm or serious inconvenience, or if he persists in disorderly conduct after reasonable warning or request to desist. Otherwise disorderly conduct is a summary offense”. If it is deemed to be a misdemeanor of the third degree, the individual charged with the crime could face up to 1 year in prison and potential fines. If the disorderly conduct charge is only deemed a summary offense, the individual may receive a sentence of 90 days in jail and fines of up to $1,500.
Potential Defenses to the Crime of Disorderly Conduct
One of the important reasons to hire an experienced attorney when facing this charge, is the potential defenses that can be raised in order to not be found guilty. Some common defenses used by individuals charged with this crime are:
- Provocation which caused the conduct to occur
- Self defense
- Lack of intent
- The individual was not the person who engaged in the conduct
- The individual was not aware that their conduct was causing a public disturbance
I Have Been Charged with Disorderly Conduct, What Should I Do?
If you or someone you know has been charged with Disorderly Conduct, The Law Office of Vincent J. Caputo is ready to help you through this process. We understand that this charge can often be difficult for the individual involved and that is why we will work with you every step of the way in achieving the best outcome possible. Contact our office for a free consultation today, your future is our priority!