Minneapolis Criminal Attorney Kirk Anderson
Let there be no mistaking it – disorderly conduct is a catch-all charge for law enforcement. What disorderly conduct means when you are arrested for it is that the officers can’t find anything more specific to arrest you on, but you are being a nuisance in public. It could be singing show tunes in the street at 2 AM or arguing with a police officer after too much to drink without stopping when being told to. It is also worth knowing that “public” doesn’t necessarily mean in a bar or on the street, but it can extend well into an individual’s private property as well.
As a catch-all charge, disorderly conduct covers a wide array of different behavior. The unfortunate thing is that it still comes with hefty punishments that you don’t want on your record if you end up being brought to trial and convicted of it. As such, it means you don’t want a conviction for your silly behavior. What you want is to get the charges dropped, and that often starts with the help of a good defense attorney.
Factors in Dropped Disorderly Conduct Charges
The good news is that disorderly conduct charges are dropped fairly often. Mostly police just want to stop you from being annoying and not so much put a mark on your criminal record. Furthermore, many prosecutors feel that as such a small charge, it may not even be worth pursuing if the criteria isn’t met. However, if the charge is progressing to court, dismissal should be your goal.
When a prosecutor takes a disorderly conduct case, they need to prove that you had some sort of intention to be annoying. In this regard, it is best to argue a defense that proves you lacked the intent to commit the crime. Typically this includes mental incapacity, being underage, or acting under duress. If your lawyer can build a solid defense proving lack of intent, a prosecutor will be more amenable to dropping the charges. Even if they are not, your case is still solid for a not guilty verdict.
Punishments for Disorderly Conduct
If it is not looking like the charges will be dropped and your disorderly conduct case is going to court, the punishments will rarely ever be higher than misdemeanor level punishments. This means up to 90 days in jail and/or a $1,000 fine. It is not a mark you want on your record, but not as damaging to the rest of your life as a felony charge would be.
The unique thing about disorderly conduct charges is that it is well within a judge discretion’ to reduce the punishment of the charge. If you are a first-time offender, it is likely that a judge will give you a lesser punishment such as community service if you are repentant. This is why admitting guilt may be a more prudent route to go in some disorderly conduct cases where there really is no great defense strategy. As such a minor crime, no one is going to throw the book at you.
If you have been charged with disorderly conduct, the punishments may not be as bad as some other crimes, but you still don’t want to suffer them. While disorderly conduct charges usually make for a good story to tell friends, the legal system is no joke and should be treated as such. The help of a skilled lawyer can help make sure you don’t suffer for a night of silly behavior with a criminal record, especially if there is a defense for it. Contact us today to see how the Anderson Law Firm can help you in your Minneapolis disorderly conduct charge.
DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this article does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. Please contact attorney Kirk Anderson for an initial consultation.