Cimasi Law Office

What does it mean to face charges of disorderly conduct?

It is football season, and many people in New York take the sport seriously. They attend tailgating parties and games regularly, and sometimes, they get a bit out of control. When that happens, they could end up facing charges for disorderly conduct.

Like many other states, New York's disorderly conduct law encompasses a variety of behaviors. It serves much as a "catch all" when no other charge really fits the situation. For instance, an individual could face such a charge if he or she gets into a fight, threatens someone or is otherwise engages violent behavior that does not quite fit any other charge. It could also serve as an additional charge in those cases if the police accuse the individual of assault and/or battery.

A disorderly conduct charge could also arise from an individual using obscene or offensive language, engaging in lewd, obscene or offensive behavior, or making unreasonable noise. Impeding pedestrian or vehicle traffic could result in such a charge as well. Disturbing a lawful meeting or assembly, creating an unnecessary hazardous condition or creating a physically offensive situation could land a person in jail for disorderly conduct as well. This charge also tends to arise when a person fails to obey the allegedly lawful orders of a police officer or when individuals fail to disperse when requested to do so by police.

Obviously, the charge of disorderly conduct includes a variety of behaviors that could fall under other offenses. The possibility that a police officer overstepped his or her legal authority exists, especially when this is the charge and not something more specific. It will be up to prosecutors to prove in court a individual's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. If he or she is unable to do so based on the totality of the circumstances, the charges may not stand.

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