What happens if you get charged with disorderly conduct?

Three men fighting.

Facing Arrest for Disorderly Conduct

Being arrested for disorderly conduct may not seem like that big of a deal, and compared to kidnapping or murder, it isn’t. But the consequences and ramifications that these charges can bring about going forward could be devastating. No matter how minor the incident may seem to you, it should be taken seriously, and hiring a defense attorney should be the first action taken. 

Is disorderly conduct serious?

In the State of Florida, a disorderly conduct bond typically costs $100.00 per offense and the courts treats charges of disorderly conduct as a misdemeanor in the 2nd degree. Also referred to as “breach of peace”, the punishment for this second-degree misdemeanor can be a jail sentence of up 60 days or probation for 6 months as well as a fine of $500.00. 

A first-time offense will typically see less than the 60 days maximum, depending on other factors. The factors that can lead to the maximum 60 days jail time are: 

  • Disrespectful actions towards law enforcement
  • Concerns of legitimate endangerment to the public 
  • The involvement of alcohol or drugs

The biggest risk for a first-time offender with a disorderly conduct charge is the creation of a permanent criminal record. For a repeat offender or a person who already has an extensive criminal history, jail time is far more likely.

What are examples of disorderly conduct?

Specific actions can be deemed disorderly conduct. The most common actions include:

  • Disturbance of the peace. 
  • Fighting and other physical altercations
  • Inciting a riot
  • Loitering in restricted or certain areas
  • Loud or unreasonable noise
  • Obstructing traffic
  • Use of abusive language or obscenities

If a disorderly conduct charge is classified as a first-degree misdemeanor, the subject could face a year of imprisonment. Additionally, disorderly conduct for inciting a riot can be categorized as a 3rd-degree felony in Florida and, if convicted, can lead to a possible one-year prison term. 

Does disorderly conduct stay on your record?

Absolutely.  A misdemeanor or felony conviction will never drop off your record. Once you’ve been charged and convicted, you have created a criminal record for life. In the State of Florida, you will not qualify to have your case sealed or expunged either. 

Does disorderly conduct affect background checks?

Federal and state laws allow arrests not convicted within the last seven years to appear in a criminal background check. This is true whether or not it affects a prospective employer’s decision to hire a subject, as long as they are conforming to the guidelines set in place by the EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission).

A misdemeanor criminal conviction can be included in a criminal background check, including any pending case. A misdemeanor is subjected to a jail time of a possible 15 days up to one year in a local jail. Fines and probation are also possible, including community service.

Examples of misdemeanor charges that may show on background checks in Florida include: 

  • Disorderly Conduct
  • Public Intoxication
  • Trespassing 
  • Vandalism

Can you be charged with disorderly conduct in your own home?

Most likely not, but disorderly conduct laws in Florida are somewhat vague. With that being stated, it’s recommended that any individual facing charges obtain the services of a criminal defense attorney with experience in disorderly conduct charges. 

The State of Florida refers to disorderly conduct as a “breach of the peace,” and because of this uses the law to regulate individuals’ conduct in public, but not in homes. However, if the disorderly conduct was outside of the home, this could be considered a breach of peace. A misdemeanor charge can stem from a public argument or public intoxication if the conduct took place outside of the home. 

What is the difference between disorderly conduct vs disturbing the peace?

Under Florida state laws, the two are one and the same. Both are categorized as a “breach of peace”. Both are also considered sufficient to “corrupt the public morals”, “outrage the sense of public decency”, and potentially “affect the peace and quiet of persons”. This could include a brawl or fight. 

Again, because disorderly conduct or breach of peace laws are so vague and can go from a 2nd-degree to a 1st-degree misdemeanor charge so easily, the experience of a defense attorney is recommended. 

Man in handcuffs.

In Conclusion

It is in any person’s best interest to stay within the laws. A criminal charge and conviction of any category and level will always be with you, affecting your everyday life. It can affect your home life with your spouse and children as well as your current or future employment. 

The impression you leave on family, friends, co-workers, neighbors, and the community will forever be affected as well. These are things that will have an effect on your emotional and mental well-being, even if you’re not convicted. If you need advice from an expert on disorderly conduct laws in Cocoa and Palm Bay, FL , you can contact Ammediate Bail Bonds at (321) 631-2663 today.