In Arizona, "disorderly conduct" is a catchall criminal charge for a number of different disruptive behaviors. These may include making unreasonable noise, engaging in fighting, using abusive or offensive language in order to provoke, refusing to leave an area as directed by officials, or the reckless display of a firearm. Police may charge disorderly conduct when neighbors contact them or others in the area, or when they are already at the scene for another matter and become annoyed by an individual whom they view as disruptive. Even if the situation seems straightforward, it is worth consulting a criminal defense attorney to see if there may be a way to minimize the consequences. Phoenix disorderly conduct lawyer James E. Novak can provide a strong strategic defense to people who have been charged with this offense.Understanding Disorderly Conduct Charges
A.R.S. section 13-2904 requires a prosecutor to prove disorderly conduct beyond a reasonable doubt by proving that someone had the intent to disturb the peace and quiet of a person, family, or neighborhood or knew that they would do so and did one of the following things:
- Gets involved in fighting, or violent or seriously disruptive conduct;
- Creates unreasonable noise;
- Employs abusive or offensive gestures or words to anyone there in a way that would probably provoke an immediate physical response;
- Causes a commotion in order to stop the transaction of business by a lawful gathering;
- Refuses to follow a lawful order to disperse provided in order to protect public safety during an emergency; or
- Recklessly handles or sets off a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument.
Only one of these types of disorderly conduct is a felony—recklessly handling or discharging a deadly weapon. For a first-time felony offender, the sentencing range is six months to two years, with a presumptive sentence of 1.5 years. The other types of disorderly conduct are class 1 misdemeanors. Even if you believe that a misdemeanor is not a big deal, having a criminal record may adversely affect your life in the future, hindering your ability to get a job, home, professional license, or schooling. It is important to enlist a disorderly conduct attorney in the Phoenix area to fight the charges if at all possible.
Our firm can evaluate the circumstances and figure out a strategy to use to defend you. Sometimes the police target innocent people for inappropriate reasons, such as when they are in a group of people, some of whom are being disorderly and others of whom are not. In other cases, the suspect was simply defending themselves. For example, if someone else threw the first punch at you in a bar, and then you shouted something offensive in response, but the police only saw you shouting something offensive and arrested you for disorderly conduct, you might be able to mount a successful self-defense claim.Contact a Disorderly Conduct Lawyer in the Phoenix Area
Criminal charges must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. We can work to create that doubt in the minds of the prosecutor and jury if necessary. As a Phoenix disorderly conduct attorney who formerly served as a prosecutor, Mr. Novak can locate the weaknesses in the prosecution's case and work to defend you from these charges. Contact James E. Novak at (480) 413-1499 or via our online form to arrange a free consultation with a misdemeanor lawyer. He also represents people in Tempe, Mesa, Chandler, Gilbert, Scottsdale, and other areas of Maricopa County.