Have you been accused of disorderly conduct in Florida? This is a charge that many people face in the Sunshine State. However, familiarizing yourself with the details of this charge will help you move forward with the consequences.
In this article, we’ll talk about disorderly conduct and how Florida law defines this crime. We will also share which tactics your lawyer may use to get charges dropped or secure an acquittal.
What is Disorderly Conduct?
Disorderly conduct is any behavior associated with disrupting a public space shared with others.
Some examples of disorderly conduct offenses include:
- Making excessively loud noise
- Drunk and disorderly behavior
- Fighting in the street
The precise interpretation and punishment of disorderly conduct depends on the particular state where you are charged, so we will be taking a specific look at how Florida law defines disorderly conduct.
How is Disorderly Conduct Defined in FL Law?
In Florida law, disorderly conduct is defined in the 2021 Florida Statutes, particularly in Title XLVI ‘Crimes’, Chapter 877 ‘Miscellaneous Crimes,’ Section 877.03 as a “breach of the peace; disorderly conduct.”
Breach of the peace and disorderly conduct is classified as anything which meets any of the following definitions:
- Acts which are ‘of a nature to corrupt public morals’
- Acts which ‘outrage the sense of public decency’
- Acts which ‘affect the peace and quiet of persons who may witness them’
- Anyone who engages in ‘brawling or fighting’
- Anyone who engages in ‘such conduct as to constitute a breach of the peace or disorderly conduct’
Even with a basic understanding of what disorderly conduct looks like in the state of Florida, you should still consult an attorney with experience in these cases. They will be able to address the particular details of your case, and how they will be seen by the law.
What is the Punishment for Those Found Guilty of Disorderly Conduct?
According to Florida law, disorderly conduct is classified as a misdemeanor of the second degree. A misdemeanor of the second degree is a less severe crime than a misdemeanor of the first degree.
The punishment for a misdemeanor of the second degree is given in section 775.082 of the 2021 Florida Statutes. It states that such a misdemeanor is punishable by a ‘definite term of imprisonment not exceeding 60 days.’ This means that you can get a maximum prison sentence of two months. However, the sentence may be reduced if the court finds that your charges are less severe.
A disorderly conduct lawyer in Florida can help you determine if your case may lead to reduced charges or if you can expect to receive the maximum 60 days.
Why Might Charges be Dropped in a Case of Disorderly Conduct?
If you have been charged with disorderly conduct, there are some circumstances in which your charges might be dropped, but there is no guarantee that this will happen. An experienced lawyer is much more likely to succeed in getting your charges dropped, as they will understand how to address your particular circumstances.
Charges may be dropped if you did not intend to commit a crime and have a factor that stops you from being wholly responsible for your behavior. For example:
- You are a minor
- Your lawyer can prove mental incapacity
- You were acting under duress
- There is a solid case for lack of intent
If you want to find out more about how your charges can be dropped, contact Mike G Law. Our legal team can advise you on your specific case and what steps you can take to build a robust defense in court. We will let you know if dropped charges are an option and work to reduce your punishment.
What are Common Defenses of Disorderly Conduct?
An experienced lawyer will have an awareness of some common defenses of disorderly conduct. A good disorderly conduct Florida lawyer will apply relevant defenses to your case. Even if this does not stop you from being convicted, you will often get a less harsh sentence. These common defenses include:
- Right to free speech: if you are accused of shouting or making loud noises, you could make the case that you were merely expressing yourself and that freedom of speech gives you the right to do this.
- No offensive language is used: you could make the case that, while other people may have been able to hear you, you did not use any foul language which would ‘outrage the sense of public decency.’
- Freedom to practice faith or religion without disturbance: you could argue that your behavior in public represents an expression of your faith, which you have the right to do.
- Right to assemble lawfully and peacefully: you could claim that you were assembling a group or organization of people for a specific purpose and that the law gives you the right to do this.
However, we do not recommend heading to court without a solid legal team behind you to justify your defenses. You must speak to a trained lawyer who can advise you on the appropriate defense to argue in your situation. Contact our team at Mike G Law if you’d like to better understand how these defenses work in a court of law.
Contact Mike G Law Today About Your Disorderly Conduct Charges
We hope that this article has helped solve your questions on what disorderly conduct is and how you can get your charges dropped. Now that you know more about how these charges are addressed in Florida court, it’s time to contact Mike G Law.
Our team of trained legal experts has decades of combined experience dealing with criminal charges and can provide vital support defending you in court — they may be the difference between serving a jail sentence and being acquitted.
Contact us today to find out more and speak to one of our legal experts.