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What Are Disorderly Conduct Laws?

Disorderly conduct is often used as a blanket term to describe any particularly boisterous activity that is so noisy and disruptive, it becomes illegal. However, in California's legal statues, there are actually several sub-definitions to disorderly conduct. Some of them do not even have to do with noise at all.

California considers the following actions to be disorderly conduct:

  1. Loud, persistent noise: Intentionally creating a loud scene that disrupts another person's lawful activity is illegal. A disruption becomes intentional if the individual is warned or told to “quiet down” but still does not.
  2. Solicitation: Attempting to solicit money from others, or participating in prostitution-related acts, can be charged as disorderly conduct. Solicitation can also include public intoxication or impairment from drugs.
  3. Voyeurism: Spying on someone or intentionally invading their privacy for some form of sexual pleasure. Such situations may include both disorderly conduct charges and a sex crime charge.
  4. Fighting: Brawling or attempting to start a fight in any public place is considered a form of disorderly conduct. If all fighting parties agreed to the conflict, the state can still bring apart these charges, despite there being no assault and battery charges.
  5. Inciting rage: Using words, gestures, or exhibiting behaviors that are widely known to be hateful and incite rage or violence in others is illegal.
  6. Rioting: Participating in a riot or any other large scale crime is considered a misdemeanor.
  7. Disturbing peace on campus: A non-student that creates a loud disturbance, seeks to start a violent act, or intentionally tries to offend students on a university, college, or school campus will be arrested for disorderly conduct. There is often a lower preponderance of evidence needed in cases regarding disruptions on campuses than identical incidences elsewhere.
  8. Refusing to leave: If an officer of law enforcement insists that you leave a location, even if it is a public place, and you do not, it can be charged as disorderly conduct.

In most cases, disorderly conduct will be charged as a mid- to high-level misdemeanor. The penalties could include a year in jail and thousands in fines and fees paid to the state. If you are being accused of disorderly conduct, disturbing the peace, or breaching the peace, seek legal counsel right away.

Contact Wilfert Law P.C. and speak with our Ventura criminal defense attorneys today about your options. With the help of our trial-tested lawyers who have successfully handled hundreds of client cases, you can attempt to have your charges dismissed or reduced. If matters go to court, we will fight tenaciously for a not guilty verdict. Call 805-324-6777 today.