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Is Disorderly Conduct a Misdemeanor in Minnesota?

The offense of disorderly conduct covers a wide range of disruptive behavior in Minnesota. No matter the specific facts, these offenses are always treated as misdemeanors. 

While a disorderly conduct charge is never a felony, the specific penalties that can come with a conviction can vary. Understanding this aspect of the offense is important, as it could add months to a potential jail sentence. 

A seasoned criminal defense attorney can aid you with a disorderly conduct charge. To ensure your legal rights are protected, discuss your defense options with the lawyers at Gerald Miller right away. 

Understanding a Disorderly Conduct Charge

There are three different types of misdemeanors under state law. Outside of standard misdemeanors, the law also recognizes lesser crimes as petty misdemeanors and greater offenses as gross misdemeanors. The primary difference between these three types of charges is the potential for jail time. While a petty misdemeanor does not carry the threat of time behind bars, a gross misdemeanor can result in up to a year in jail. 

Disorderly conduct qualifies as a standard misdemeanor in Minnesota. This offense is covered by Minnesota Statutes Section 609.72. According to the statute, disorderly conduct applies to specific actions that a person takes despite knowing or having reasonable grounds to know that it will alarm, anger, or disturb others. The statute also covers actions that can provoke an assault or breach of the peace. The acts that are covered by the statute include:

  • 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

There is an important exception written into the statute. This exception applies to individuals experiencing epileptic seizures or similar neurological conditions. These conditions can cause verbal outburst or uncontrolled physical movements. Because these reactions are not intentional, the state may not pursue a case stemming from such a seizure. 

Ultimately, whether or not reasonable grounds exist to believe that conduct will alarm or anger other people is a subjective standard. For example, the conduct necessary to qualify as disorderly conduct is very different depending on the setting. The same conduct that results in a disorderly conduct conviction when it occurs in a library might not result in an arrest if it happens in a crowded bar. 

Penalties for Misdemeanor Disorderly Conduct Convictions

As a misdemeanor, the penalties for a disorderly conduct conviction are much less severe than a felony offense. However, that does not mean the consequences are not steep. If convicted, you face up to 90 days in jail, a fine of no more than $1,000, or a combination of the two. First-time offenders typically avoid jail time altogether, but there is no guarantee the prosecution will agree to those terms. Your best chance of avoiding jail time is with the help of a skilled defense attorney. 

There are limited circumstances where this charge could result in steeper penalties. When a caregiver is convicted of disorderly conduct targeting a vulnerable adult, they face up to one year in jail and a maximum fine of $3,000.

The statutory penalties of a disorderly conduct conviction are only part of the story. The collateral consequences that come with any criminal conviction will often last long after you complete any jail sentence. With a criminal conviction on your record, you could face challenges in obtaining adequate housing or keeping your employment. A lawyer can advise you what to expect from a conviction and provide you with your options on how to beat the charge. 

Discuss a Disorderly Conduct Charge with Gerald Miller

If you have been arrested on a charge of disorderly conduct, you should not take it lightly. A conviction could result in unexpected consequences for the rest of your life. The good news is that this charge is often defensible. With the right legal counsel, you could prevail at trial or see your case dismissed altogether. 

Contact the attorneys at Gerald Miller to discuss your options. Our firm can evaluate your situation and come up with a defense strategy that works for you. To learn more, schedule your free consultation as soon as possible by calling (612) 440-4608. 

About the author

Gerald Miller

Gerald Miller is a top-notch and experienced DWI/DUI lawyer at Gerald Miller P.A. in Minneapolis, MN. He has more than 35 years of experience in Criminal Defense practice. He has also been a mentor to numerous DUI/DWI defense attorneys.

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