When it comes to criminal offenses, disorderly conduct is one of the least-severe charges available under Minnesota law. In every case, disorderly conduct is treated as a misdemeanor. What’s more, a conviction will rarely result in time behind bars.
That does not mean a disorderly conduct charge should not be taken seriously. If you have a clean criminal record, a conviction of any kind could have a harmful impact on your life and your livelihood.
With an aggressive defense strategy, you could see your disorderly conduct charge dismissed. Talk to the attorneys of Gerald Miller today about your defense options.
How Disorderly Conduct is Charged in Minnesota
The offense of disorderly conduct is governed by Minnesota Statute Section 609.72. This offense is always treated as a misdemeanor under the law. However, there are circumstances that could enhance the penalties of a conviction beyond that of a standard misdemeanor.
A charge of disorderly conduct is appropriate when a person knowingly acts in a way that tends to alarm anger or disturb others. It is also a charge appropriate for conduct that provokes an assault or breach of the peace. This statute applies in both public and private places, including school buses. The statute outlines three specific acts that qualify as disorderly conduct. They include:
- engages in brawling or fighting; or
- disturbs an assembly or meeting, not unlawful in its character; or
- 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 Misdemeanor Disorderly Conduct in MN
Most of the time, the penalties for a disorderly conduct conviction are no different than any other misdemeanor offense. Upon a conviction, you could face up to six months in jail and a fine of no more than $1,000.
For most people charged with disorderly conduct, a conviction will be unlikely to result in any additional jail time at all. There are no mandatory minimums associated with a disorderly conduct charge. Prosecutors rarely seek additional time behind bars following the initial arrest. While jail time might be unlikely, that does not mean leniency is guaranteed. It is best to rely on an attorney, even in cases where you are considering a guilty plea.
Enhancing Penalties in Minnesota
There is a way that the prosecution can enhance the penalty for a disorderly conduct conviction. While the offense remains a misdemeanor under the law, the maximum penalty increases substantially.
Prosecutors may seek an enhanced penalty against a caregiver that engages in brawling or fighting with a vulnerable adult. Vulnerable adults include residents of inpatient facilities or individuals with physical or mental infirmities. Penalties can lead to a maximum jail term of one year and a fine of no more than $3,000. While the maximum term is increased, there is no mandatory minimum sentence. It is possible to avoid jail even under enhanced penalties.
Important Minnesota State Exceptions
The disorderly conduct statute sets out exceptions for the offense. For example, person is not guilty of disorderly conduct if their actions were the result of an epileptic seizure. Courts have expanded this to include any physical action brought on involuntarily due to a condition or disease.
In addition to the exceptions written into the statute, there are other grounds that could result in an acquittal. For example, a claim of self-defense could be sufficient to avoid a conviction related to brawling or fighting.
Discuss Your Charge with a Disorderly Conduct Lawyer in Minneapolis
It’s unwise to think that disorderly conduct is “only” a misdemeanor. Minor criminal offenses can have lasting consequences. Your conviction will remain on your record forever for potential employers to see.
Do not let a disorderly conduct conviction derail your future. The attorneys at Gerald Miller will help you fight back. Our team has a track record of success, and we are ready to put our experience to work in your case. Schedule your free consultation with Gerald Miller by contacting us as soon as possible. We look forward to reviewing your case and advising you on your options.