Disorderly conduct is a criminal charge that, depending on the jurisdiction, can include a broad range of different actions. Focused primarily on behavior that disturbs the peace, offends public morality, or undermines public safety, the offense typically includes being drunk in public; public urination; using loud, threatening or obscene language; or loitering in prohibited areas.
Similarly, the offense in Washington, D.C. takes a number of forms. For example, it is illegal:
- to urinate or to defecate in public except in a urinal or toilet;
- to intentionally or recklessly put someone else in reasonable fear of person or property;
- to incite or provoke violence in a public area;
- to direct abusive or offensive language at another person in a public area in a manner likely to provoke retaliation or violence;
- to engage in loud, threatening or abusive language, or disruptive conduct, with the intent of impeding or disturbing the orderly conduct of a lawful public gathering;
- to make unreasonably loud noise between 10:00 pm and 7:00 am that is likely to annoy or disturb others;
- to stealthily look into a window or other opening of a dwelling under circumstances in which an occupant would have a reasonable expectation of privacy;
- to unnecessarily jostle or crowd another person or to place a hand near another person’s handbag, pocketbook, or wallet. D.C. Criminal Code § 22-1321.
Although the penalty for violating this statute is a $500 fine and up to 90 days of imprisonment, first-time offenders should be eligible for some type of diversion program, including a “post-and-forfeit” arrangement or a deferred prosecution agreement.
Please contact Jamison Koehler at 202-549-2374 or email@example.com if you have been charged with disorderly conduct. Mr. Koehler has extensive experience representing clients in precisely this type of case.