Disorderly conduct is a misdemeanor offense in the State of Florida.
Under Florida law, disorderly conduct is defined by statute as:"Whoever commits such acts as are of a nature to corrupt the public morals, or outrage the sense of public decency, or affect the peace and quiet of persons who may witness them, or engages in brawling or fighting, or engages in such conduct as to constitute a breach of the peace or disorderly conduct, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor of the second degree."
Unlike disorderly intoxication, someone charged with disorderly conduct need not be under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Disorderly conduct is often a trumped-up charge. Cops will sometimes use this charge to arrest somebody when their is really no good reason to do so.
Some instances of disorderly conduct, however, are more warranted than others. If two people are fighting in public, they may be charged with disorderly conduct.
However, a fine line exists between free speech and disorderly conduct. Cops who don't understand the law may arrest somebody just for being loud in public.
Sometimes, police officers will arrest somebody for disorderly conduct for arguing or talking back to them.
You can be taken to jail for disorderly conduct, but most of the time the police officer will issue you a promise to appear (PTA). Remember, a PTA is still an arrest.
Disorderly conduct is a second degree misdemeanor, punishable by a maximum of 60 days in jail.
Most first-time offenders charged with disorderly conduct will receive an opportunity to enroll in Pretrial Diversion (PTD). If you have a prior criminal record, you may be looking at probation or even a jail sentence.
I personally do not like this charge. I think that the statutory language is too broad, giving cops too much leeway in making frivolous arrests. It seems as if disorderly conduct is almost a "catch all" for any behavior a cop doesn't like.
But it is a crime, and that means if you are arrest for it, you will have a criminal record.
Don't simply plead guilty just to avoid having to deal with the charge. A good South Florida criminal defense attorney may be able to get this charge dismissed. Upon dismissal, you may be able to get the arrest expunged.
If you have been charged with disorderly conduct, call me to discuss your case.