A person who is convicted of disorderly conduct can be fined, and a second or subsequent offense carries the possibility of a jail sentence.Elements of Disorderly Conduct
In order to convict a defendant of disorderly conduct, the Commonwealth must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that:
- The defendant either (a) engaged in threatening or fighting behavior; or (b) engaged in tumultuous or violent behavior; or (c) created a physically offensive or hazardous condition by an act that did not serve any legitimate purpose;
- It was reasonably likely that the defendant’s actions would affect the public; and
- The defendant either (a) intended to cause annoyance, public inconvenience, or alarm; or (b) recklessly created a risk of annoyance, public inconvenience, or alarm.
Common Defenses and Defense Strategies
- Disorderly conduct is most often charged when the defendant is fighting on the street and the police get involved. There is always a question regarding whether the defendant’s actions were reasonably likely to affect the public.
- A defendant is always entitled to use reasonable force to defend himself from being physically attacked. Therefore, if the defendant was involved in a fight on the street but was trying to defend himself or herself, he or she can assert self-defense at trial.
- While a conviction for a second or subsequent disorderly conduct carries potentially serious consequences, it is a relatively minor crime. Prosecutors can sometimes be convinced to dismiss these cases upon the payment of court costs. Attorney Spring will aggressively seek to convince prosecutors that dismissal of a disorderly conduct charge is appropriate in your case. Disorderly conduct is routinely charged by police officers as an “add-on” crime to offenses such as resisting arrest and assault and battery on a police officer. Since the penalty for a first offense is only a fine, defendants sometimes want to plead guilty and pay the fine to avoid going through a trial. This can be a mistake, as any conviction can act as a predicate to a subsequent offense, which is punishable by jail.
Given the serious consequences that can result from a conviction for a subsequent offense disorderly conduct, you should hire an aggressive criminal defense attorney who has experience in litigating these types of cases. Attorney Chris Spring prosecuted these cases earlier in his career when he served as an assistant district attorney and since becoming a defense attorney, he has successfully defended hundreds of individuals charged with disorderly conduct. Having tried more than 150 cases before Massachusetts juries in both district and superior court, Attorney Spring has the necessary experience to guide you through the criminal justice system and present your side of the story to a jury.
It is always dangerous to speak to the police without first consulting with a criminal defense attorney. While you may believe that you are not providing the police with harmful information, your statement could end up incriminating you at trial. Contact Attorney Spring immediately to schedule a free consultation at your home if the police are trying to speak to you.