Temple Disorderly Conduct Attorney
Texans have a right to live as they choose, but the state maintains order and decency through its disorderly conduct statute. Under this law, you can be charged with disorderly conduct for a variety of activities which you might find unobjectionable but which could disrupt the peace of other people. Unfortunately, penalties for any conviction are stiff, and a single disorderly conduct conviction can follow a person around for decades.
If you or someone you love has been accused of disorderly conduct, contact The Law Office of Katie L. Gomez today. We can swing into action to protect your rights and hold the state to its burden of proof.
Defining Disorderly Conduct
Texas Penal Code § 42.01 is a lengthy law which identifies different ways people can violate public order and decency. Some examples include:
- Using vulgar or abusive language in public which would cause an immediate breach of the peace.
- Making an offensive gesture or display which could immediately lead to a breach of the peace.
- Creating a noxious odor using chemicals
- Threatening or abusing a person in public in a clearly offensive manner.
- Making unreasonable noise in public or near a home.
- Getting into a fight in public.
- Discharging a firearm in public or displaying one in an alarming way.
- Exposing one’s genitals in public.
- Peeping in someone’s private space for lewd purposes.
This is an extensive list, and we frequently see disorderly conduct charges brought when a person hasn’t outright broken other laws but is behaving in an upsetting or threatening way. Remember that even young adults and teens can be charged with disorderly conduct if an officer finds their conduct sufficiently offensive.
Penalties for Disorderly Conduct
Some people erroneously think disorderly conduct charges are too minor to worry about. This attitude is a mistake. Generally, prosecutors charge disorderly conduct as a Class C misdemeanor, which only carries a fine up to $500, with no jail time.
However, in some cases defendants can be charged with a Class B misdemeanor, such as when they display a firearm with the intent to cause fear. A Class B misdemeanor carries stiffer penalties: up to 180 days in jail and a fine up to $2,000.
A defendant can also face negative collateral consequences, even for a Class C conviction. Any criminal record can make it harder to land a job or apartment, and people must disclose all criminal convictions when applying for certain professional licenses or for admission to college.
Defending Our Clients
There are a range of defenses available to a disorderly conduct charge, depending on the circumstances. Let’s look at a couple.
First, the prosecutor must prove that the defendant engaged in conduct intentionally or knowingly. As an example: you have not committed disorderly conduct if you accidentally displayed a firearm or if a towel and you exposed your genitals briefly. This is not the type of intentional or knowing conduct the law criminalizes.
Other defenses include being provoked into responding or fearing for your safety. If someone brandishes a weapon on you, it might be reasonable to do so in return.
Speak with Temple Disorderly Conduct Attorney Today
Instead of immediately pleading guilty, consider your options by contacting a lawyer and talking over your case. Katie Gomez is a committed criminal defense attorney who brings a fresh perspective to bear on her cases. She will gladly discuss your options in a confidential setting.