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What Happens When You get Charged With Disorderly Conduct in Minnesota

Disorderly conduct charges should not be taken lightly in Minnesota. While these charges might not carry the steepest penalties available, any situation that could result in your incarceration should be taken seriously. This means it is important to understand what happens when you get charged with disorderly conduct in Minnesota.

From your arrest to the day your case comes to an end, the actions you take could impact the outcome. Few actions are as critical as your selection of legal counsel. An attorney could not only guide you through the process but also advise you on your defense options.

If you have been charged with disorderly conduct, it is important that you have an experienced lawyer to defend your rights and interests. The attorneys of Gerald Miller are ready to be your advocate and provide you with the legal representation you deserve. We offer free consultations, so don’t hesitate to get in touch with us to learn more about how we can help.

The Process in Disorderly Conduct Cases

Disorderly conduct cases typically follow a similar process, which begins with an arrest and involves a series of court appearances culminating in a criminal trial. However, there are opportunities to avoid some parts of this process or to bring it to an early resolution. For example, your attorney may be able to negotiate with the prosecutor or the judge to have the case dismissed. Alternatively, you may choose to enter a plea of guilty and bring the case to a close. It’s worth noting that every case is unique and the specifics of your case will depend on the facts as well as the disposition of the prosecutor.


The beginning of a disorderly conduct case typically involves an arrest. This arrest can occur in a variety of circumstances, such as when law enforcement officers witness the alleged offense being committed, or after they have completed an investigation. The police will often make an arrest for disorderly conduct when they break up a fight or other disturbance.

In some cases, an arrest may take place without an investigation, if there is sufficient probable cause to believe that a crime has been committed. Regardless of the circumstances, an arrest is a significant event and it’s important to understand your rights and to seek legal counsel as soon as possible. It is only one of many steps you might encounter in the criminal justice system.


The initial court hearing for a disorderly conduct case is called an arraignment. This hearing serves several important purposes. First, it is an opportunity for you to request bail if you have been detained since your arrest. Second, it is where you will plead guilty or not guilty to the charges against you. If you plead not guilty, you will have more time to prepare your defense and seek a favorable resolution to your case. If you have been released from jail before the arraignment, your attorney may be able to appear on your behalf.

If you choose to hire a disorderly conduct attorney, they have the right to represent you at the arraignment. Your attorney may be able to help you secure release from jail before the hearing and may even be able to waive your appearance at the hearing altogether.


The arraignment is only one of many hearings your case might have before it is resolved. At your arraignment, the judge will inform you of the charges against you and ask how you plead. This could be the first of many hearings in your case. The next set of hearings, called preliminary hearings, may cover a variety of topics.

If your lawyer decides to file a motion to dismiss the case, this hearing is where that motion may be considered. It is also possible to address issues related to discovery at these hearings. Discovery is the process in which the prosecution provides you with copies of the evidence they have against you. You have the right to see the prosecution’s evidence before the trial, but sometimes the prosecution is not quick to provide this information.


After all preliminary issues and discoveries have been addressed, it is time for the trial. However, your lawyer may still try to negotiate a dismissal or plea bargain until the start of the trial. It is not uncommon for cases to be resolved at the last minute.

During a trial, the state presents the evidence they have gathered that they believe will prove your guilt. This may include witness testimony and physical evidence collected by law enforcement. Your lawyer will also have the chance to present evidence and call witnesses. After both sides have presented their cases, the jury will consider all the evidence and make a verdict on your guilt or innocence.

If you are convicted in a criminal case, the sentencing phase will follow. During this phase, the court will determine the appropriate punishment for your crime. This could include jail time, monetary fines, or other penalties. It is important to note that the sentencing phase only occurs if you are found guilty at trial. If you are acquitted, there will be no sentencing phase. The sentencing phase may take place on the same day as the trial or it may be scheduled for a later date.

Are Disorderly Conduct Cases Serious?

Disorderly conduct might not be as serious of a charge compared to offenses like robbery or murder. However, any criminal conviction could have a serious impact on your life moving forward. Given these consequences, it is important that you develop a strong defense strategy in your case. Building the right defense approach could impact what happens when you are charged with disorderly conduct and even potentially lead to a dismissal.

To understand the severity of these charges, it is helpful to look at what the law actually says. Disorderly conduct charges are governed by Minnesota Statute Section 609.72. This offense involves specific conduct that occurs in public or private that has the tendency to disturb others, breach the peace, or cause alarm. The acts that the statute outlines as disorderly conduct occur when a person:

  1. engages in brawling or fighting; or
  2. disturbs an assembly or meeting, not unlawful in its character; or
  3. 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.

Possible Outcomes in a Disorderly Conduct Case in Minnesota

There are several different ways your case could play out. While there is always the possibility that you are found guilty at trial, it is also possible to secure a favorable outcome. These favorable outcomes can take different forms. Some of the ways the attorneys of Gerald Miller could resolve your case include:


In some cases, a trial may not be necessary. If all of the charges against you are dismissed, it is the best possible outcome. To have your charges dismissed, you will need a strong defense strategy. Prosecutors and judges will not simply dismiss the case without good reason, but a strong defense may convince them to do so. Prosecutors are often hesitant to go to trial if they believe they are likely to lose, so a solid defense strategy may lead to a dismissal of the case against you.

Acquittal at Trial

Many individuals who have been charged with disorderly conduct are reluctant to plead guilty. Some believe that they are innocent and therefore do not want to admit to a crime that they did not commit. Others may decide to take their chances with a trial instead of accepting a plea bargain from the state, hoping for a more favorable outcome. However, going to trial carries risks. While a person might be acquitted, a guilty verdict could result in a harsher sentence than what was offered in the plea deal.

Entering a Guilty Plea

Often, the state has enough evidence to secure a conviction if your case goes to trial. In these situations, it could be in your best interest to consider a plea bargain. Despite resulting in a conviction, it could keep you out of jail or avoid steeper penalties. What’s more, a plea bargain might help you avoid a conviction on your record if you meet certain requirements.

Contact Gerald Miller Right Away in Minnesota

The most important step you can take following a disorderly conduct arrest is contacting legal counsel. Contact the attorneys of Gerald Miller today for a free consultation.

Related Content: What Does Disorderly Conduct Mean under Minnesota Law?


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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