Columbia Disorderly Conduct Lawyer
Disorderly conduct is a term commonly used in criminal law to refer to a variety of offenses. At first glance, a charge of disorderly conduct may seem like a minor matter and not worth the effort of giving much consideration to with regard to defensive strategy.
However, it is important to remember that a conviction for disorderly conduct establishes a criminal record visible to everyone with internet access. Anyone conducting a casual search may see a conviction, though they may not necessarily be able to see the specific offense involved. Having a criminal conviction on your record may cause difficulties for years to come with respect to employment, lending, housing, and even volunteer activities and social relationships.
So, if you are facing disorderly conduct charges, consider talking to a Columbia disorderly conduct lawyer. A dedicated criminal defense lawyer experienced in handling disorderly conduct charges could explain your options and help you protect your rights and your future.
Overview of Disorderly Conduct Laws
The state statute covering disorderly conduct of a criminal nature defines several types of actions that will constitute a violation. The conduct must either occur in a public place or disturb the public peace in order to violate the statute. A public place includes property owned by the government as well as businesses such as restaurants and shops, churches, hotels, apartment lobbies, and the parking lots attached to these places.
Disorderly conduct is classified as a criminal misdemeanor. Those convicted may be sentenced to up to 60 days in jail and a fine of up to $500.
Five Types of Disorderly Conduct
Md. Code Ann., Crim. Law §10-201 describes six types of prohibited disorderly conduct. However, one of these offenses is not applicable in Columbia. It is important to note that under the statutory definitions, each of these forms of conduct must be performed “willfully” in order for a violation to occur.
A person may be charged with disorderly conduct in Columbia for:
- Obstructing others seeking to pass through a public place or on public transportation
- Acting in “a disorderly manner that disturbs the public peace”
- Failing to obey a lawful order from the police
- Disturbing the peace of those on private property by making an unreasonably loud noise or acting in a disorderly manner while on (or sometimes near) their property
- Disturbing the peace of another in public or on their property by making an unreasonably loud noise
While public places are discussed and defined in the statute, the definition of public peace is not. It could be argued that conduct alleged to be disorderly was not in fact severe enough to disturb the public peace and therefore should not be treated as criminal disorderly conduct.
Consult with a Columbia Disorderly Conduct Defense Attorney Today
Disorderly conduct is often used in Columbia as an all-purpose charge issued to quiet things down after a loud confrontation or to keep a fight from escalating. In some situations, when a disturbance is reported, everyone in the area may be charged with disorderly conduct whether or not they actually engaged in disorderly behavior.
Because even a minor criminal offense may have a major impact on your future, it is wise to learn all that you can about the ramifications of a disorderly conduct charge before committing to a course of action.
A consultation with a Columbia disorderly conduct lawyer could provide the information you need to move forward. To learn how a disorderly conduct attorney could assist in your particular situation, call now for a free case evaluation.