Virtually every state has some form of statute outlawing “disorderly conduct.” While the specifics of these offenses vary across state lines, disorderly conduct typically involves some form of disruptive conduct that is offensive to the general public.
Often, the police use this offense as a catch-all to make arrests for behavior that is borderline criminal at best. Often, these arrests involve individuals that are under the influence of alcohol or drugs. That is not the case in Minnesota, which relies on other statutes for intoxication-related issues.
If you are facing charges of disorderly conduct, you deserve legal counsel that will fight for you. The attorneys at Gerald Miller look forward to the opportunity to serve as your advocate. To learn more, schedule your free consultation today.
Disorderly Conduct in Minnesota
The charge of disorderly conduct falls under the purview of Minnesota Statutes Section 609.72. The statute outlaws a broad range of behavior. In Minnesota, it is illegal to act knowing or having reason to know that your actions will alarm, anger, disturb, provoke an assault, or provoke a breach of the peace. These actions can occur on public or private property.
The acts that qualify as disorderly conduct vary from harassment to acts of violence. This statute applies when a person:
- engages in brawling or fighting
- disturbs an assembly or meeting, not unlawful in its character
- engages in offensive, obscene, abusive, boisterous, or noisy conduct or inoffensive, obscene, or abusive language tending reasonably to arouse alarm, anger, or resentment in others
There is a difficult balancing act between the enforcement of disorderly conduct laws and the protection of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. To obtain a conviction, the state must establish that the defendant used “fighting words” or engaged in some other type of conduct that is not protected by the Constitution. This often results in a viable defense at trial.
Penalties for Disorderly Conduct
Compared to other criminal charges, the penalties upon conviction for disorderly conduct are relatively minor. However, any risk of jail time is a serious consequence for most people.
Disorderly conduct is treated as a misdemeanor under the statute. If convicted, you could face a penalty of up to 90 days behind bars and a fine of no more than $1,000.
That said, it is possible for these penalties to increase under specific circumstances. When a caregiver commits disorderly conduct against a person that qualifies as a vulnerable adult, the penalty range increases. This carries up to one year in jail as well as a maximum fine of $3,000.
For many people, the collateral consequences of a criminal conviction outweigh any time they spend behind bars. Long after the fines are paid and the jail time is served, the criminal conviction on your permanent record could continue to cause you grief. Employers have the right to screen potential hires based on their criminal records. The same is true for prospective landlords. A conviction could even put your professional license at risk in some situations.
What’s more, a plea bargain typically cannot protect you from these collateral consequences. As long as you have a conviction on your record, you are at risk for it to cause havoc in your life for years to come.
Ultimately, the best way to protect your future is to avoid a conviction entirely. By fighting back against the charges against you, it is possible that you could see your case dismissed or even prevail at trial.
Discuss Your Disorderly Conduct Case with Gerald Miller
You should never assume a conviction for disorderly conduct will not have a major impact on your life. Even if you are unlikely to face jail time, a criminal conviction could have consequences you did not see coming.
The team at Gerald Miller knows what is at stake in every criminal prosecution. We pride ourselves by serving as advocates for the accused. We have extensive experience defending clients from disorderly conduct charges, and we look forward to putting that experienced to work for you.
It is understandable if you have questions about your case. To get the answers you are looking for, schedule your free consultation with Gerald Miller by calling us at (612) 440-4608 as soon as possible.