What Is Disorderly Conduct?
The offense of disorderly conduct is reserved for public behavior that is outside the bounds of protected free speech. Individuals that are especially disruptive in public could face arrest for this charge.
While this offense is relatively minor compared to more serious charges, the consequences of a conviction are no laughing matter. Any criminal conviction could make obtaining employment difficult for years to come.
If you face charges of disorderly conduct in Minnesota, you do not have to face down the prosecutor on your own. The attorneys at Gerald Miller are ready to evaluate your case and help you prepare the strongest defense possible. Call right away to discuss your options.
Disorderly Conduct Laws in Minnesota
The offense of disorderly conduct is governed by Minnesota Statutes Section 609.72. Disorderly conduct is a crime of intent. Specifically, a conviction requires that the accused knew or had reasonable grounds to know that their conduct will alarm, anger, disturb others, provoke an assault, or provoke a breach of the peace. The language of the statute specifically carves out an exception to anyone whose conduct was caused by an epileptic seizure.
In addition to the intent element, the charge of disorderly conduct requires a specific act. The statute sets out three different acts that can result in a conviction. These acts occur 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 in offensive, obscene, or abusive language tending reasonably to arouse alarm, anger, or resentment in others
Penalties for Disorderly Conduct Convictions
Disorderly conduct is always treated as a misdemeanor under state law. If convicted, you could face up to 90 days in jail, a fine of no more than $1,000, or a combination of both. It is not uncommon for first-time offenders to avoid jail time entirely on a disorderly conduct charge.
The penalties are more severe in cases that involve a caregiver violating the statute. When a caregiver commits the offense of disorderly conduct against a vulnerable adult, the penalty for a conviction increases to a maximum jail term of one year. Additionally, a conviction could also result in a maximum fine of $3,000 or some combination of the two.
Ultimately, the real risk of a disorderly conduct conviction is the potential mark on your criminal record for the rest of your life. A criminal conviction can follow you forever, costing you job opportunities or making it hard to obtain suitable housing.
The lawyers at Gerald Miller understand the consequences of a criminal conviction. That is why we work tirelessly to obtain a favorable outcome for all of our clients. In some cases, we are successful in having charges dismissed entirely.
Like with any criminal offense, there are an array of potential defenses to the charge of disorderly conduct. Not every defense will apply to every case, however. Speak with an attorney to determine the right defense in your case.
- Free speech. Disorderly conduct cases can often walk a fine line between a genuine criminal offense and speech protected by the Constitution. Free speech that annoys the public or causes a disturbance is not enough for an arrest. However, a disorderly conduct charge is appropriate if the conduct amounts to “fighting words.”
- Medical defenses. The statute specifically spells out a defense for anyone having an epileptic seizure. This defense extends to any medical condition that can cause unintended physical motion or audible sounds.
- Self-defense. In cases involving brawling or fighting, you could rely on a claim of self-defense. Just like with an assault charge, you have the right to protect yourself from physical harm even if it means engaging in a fight.
Reach Out to Gerald Miller Today
It is important to remember that an arrest for disorderly conduct does not guarantee a conviction. It is not uncommon for the police to make multiple arrests following a disturbance, only for prosecutors to dismiss many of those charges.
The lawyers of Gerald Miller understand how to approach a disorderly conduct charge. By aggressively fighting for a favorable outcome, we put our clients in the best position possible. Call Gerald Miller at (612) 440-4608 today to schedule your free consultation.