ARRESTED? INVESTIGATED? ARRESTADO? INVESTIGADO?
Disorderly conduct, or a ‘breach of the peace’ is a criminal offense in Florida, but it is a very vague and broad category of crimes. It is a common offense, yet in many cases a good criminal defense attorney can spot the inconsistencies involved in such a charge and get it dismissed or at least potential penalties reduced.
Florida law on disorderly conduct
Disorderly conduct is said to have been committed according to Florida Statute 877.03 when someone carries out acts that:
• could corrupt public morals;
• outrage the sense of public decency;
• affect the peace and quiet of persons who witness them;
• engage in brawling or fighting.
Typical activities that may lead to an arrest include:
• abusive language;
• blocking traffic, blocking roadways;
• excessive noise;
• fighting/arguing in public;
• public intoxication;
It is up to individual police officers to make a decision about whether a particular act constitutes a ‘breach of the peace’ or ‘disorderly conduct,’ but this inevitably ends up with one officer ignoring a particular act when another officer may decide that it was an offense.
Arrests are made on very subjective criteria and may be made without any questions asked simply to try and defuse a situation from deteriorating (in the eyes of those arresting anyway).
As an example of just how subjective this crime can be, take a car full of teenagers parked in a quiet suburban road with their speakers turned up playing loud music. How loud would the music have to be before it is regarded as ‘affecting the peace of quiet of persons who witness them?’
If someone is ejected from a late night bar decides to loudly argue about the rights and wrongs of his ejection, at what level of obscenities does the person cross the line of ‘disorderly conduct?’
Penalties for disorderly conduct
Most disorderly conduct offenses are misdemeanors in the second degree. Convictions could result in a jail sentence of up to 60 days and a fine of up to $500. Within the category of disorderly conduct are more serious offenses. If the actions that led to an arrest involved public brawling or fighting, then this may be considered a misdemeanor in the first degree with a possible jail sentence of up to a year and a fine of up to $1,000. Some activities could be construed as a ‘riot,’ which is more serious still. This could result in a felony conviction in the third degree.
Defense against a charge of disorderly conduct
You may not realize just how serious your actions were and end up being arrested on a disorderly conduct charge. Whatever the circumstances, you have the right to be represented and defended in court. It is in your best interests to be defended by an effective and experienced Miami criminal defense attorney. Albert Quirantes Esq. and his team of attorneys regularly represent clients who have been arrested on dubious disorderly behavior charges.
Typical defenses used to dismiss these charges include:
• The behavior was restricted to privately owned property. For disorderly behavior to be involved, the person charged must have been carrying out the ‘breach of the peace’ on public property.
• An argument or fight involved self-defense against an act of aggression or violence against you;
• Protection under your First Amendment rights.
Don’t risk your job, freedom and future. Contact Albert Quirantes Esq. on 305-644-1800 today!