Has disturbing the peace disrupted your life?

Maybe it's just not in you to play by the rules, and you are willing to take chances if it means having a good time with friends or making your point loud and clear. You may make enemies as easily as you make friends, but your presence guarantees that those around will have an interesting time. On the other hand, maybe being loud and boisterous is not your style, and you just got caught up in the moment.

Rules and laws keep order and maintain peace in society, and some people take their right to peace and order very seriously. Now that you are facing charges of disorderly conduct, you may have many questions about how you got here and what happens next.

What is disorderly conduct?

You may be confused at the charges against you. Perhaps you know someone else who faced the same charge but for a very different behavior. In Georgia, and in most states, disorderly conduct may include many actions, all of them disrupting the peaceful existence of others or preventing them from living their normal lives in tranquility. Most likely, people in the neighborhood contacted police because they felt your actions intruded on their right to peace. Some of the behaviors that typically result in disorderly conduct charges include:

  • Fighting or threatening to fight
  • Blocking traffic
  • Inciting a riot
  • Yelling or using obscene, offensive language (especially if minors are present)
  • Placing someone's property in danger
  • Loitering
  • Behaving indecently

If police also charged you with public intoxication, this is a separate charge with which you must deal, carrying additional penalties for conviction.

While it may not seem serious — and in fact, your friends may joke with you about the incident — imagine trying to explain this conviction on your record to the potential boss of your dream job or the dean at the college at the top of your list.

Facing the music

Disorderly conduct is a misdemeanor, which means the law considers it a minor crime. However, it is a criminal offense that will be a permanent part of your record if a court convicts you. Additionally, there is nothing minor about a $1,000 fine and a year in jail, which are the maximum penalties for disorderly conduct and public intoxication.

Obviously, the first line of defense is never allowing yourself to get to this point. However, if it's too late to prevent the arrest, there are still options available that may bring positive results. Seeking legal advice at the earliest opportunity may provide you with the answers you need to establish a course of action to protect your future.

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