Disorderly Conduct Attorney in Miami, FL
If you or a loved one has been arrested for a disorderly conduct charge or disorderly intoxication, it is critical to consult with an experienced Miami disorderly conduct attorney as soon as possible to ensure that your rights are protected. You need the counsel of an experienced criminal defense lawyer to guide you through the process and maximize your chances of resolving your case without leaving you with a criminal record.
Disorderly conduct is one of the most common offenses that police officers often use to demonstrate their authority and/or gain control over a situation. Many people arrested for this criminal offense in Miami-Dade County feel that they have done nothing wrong and have difficulty understanding why they were arrested. It is not uncommon for a person arrested for this criminal charge to say that they were just asking the officer a question and were then put under arrest. Legally, disorderly conduct is conduct in a public place that rises to the level of a “breach of the peace.” Drawing the line between a “breach of the peace” and freedom of speech can be very difficult. Consequently, First Amendment issues are often implicated in a disorderly conduct case.
Ultimately, it is up to the police to decide who they will arrest for disorderly conduct. As dedicated defense lawyers, we are on your side and fight aggressively on your behalf, working to level the playing field and obtain justice. Securing your freedom and avoiding criminal penalties is our top priority.
What is Disorderly Conduct?
The criminal charge of disorderly conduct is defined under Florida Statutes, Section 877.03, as an individual breaching the peace by acting in a manner that outrages the sense of public decency, corrupts public morals, or affects the peace and quiet of any individual who witnesses the conduct. This can encompass many types of conduct, including:
- Physical fights
- Verbal fights that disturb the peace
- Unreasonably loud noise
- Loud profanity and obscenity
- Yelling at the police
- Causing a crowd to gather
- Inciting others
There is an almost identical offense called disorderly conduct on the premises of an establishment. The only difference is that the conduct happened in an establishment (restaurant, bar, club, etc.) instead of in public.
Regardless, just because a police officer arrests you for doing one of these things in public or in an establishment doesn’t mean that you are guilty. As noted above, sometimes police officers arrest people who are validly exercising their First Amendment rights. This is why it is vital that anyone arrested for this offense consult with a skilled and experienced attorney with a proven track record for defending clients charged with disorderly conduct.
Typical Disorderly Conduct Defenses
Sometimes an obvious defense arises when the incident occurred on private property because of the requirement that the alleged disorderly conduct occurs in public. In cases of physical fights, self-defense can be raised as a defense. And as mentioned previously, the First Amendment right to free speech can also be raised as a defense in many cases.
First Amendment Defense
As far as verbal conduct is concerned, the First Amendment limits a disorderly conduct conviction to so-called “fighting words” or “words like yelling “fire” in a crowded theater.” Although the statute appears to cover a wide range of conduct, a defendant cannot be convicted for merely creating “a scene,” engaging in loud or boisterous conduct, or using obscene language. In short, verbally expressing oneself is usually not enough under the statute to sustain a conviction.
Additionally, police officers don’t have the right to arrest you just because you may yell, behave rudely, use profanity, or are disrespectful to them. This doesn’t mean, however, that any speech toward law enforcement officers is constitutionally protected. It is possible for you to be convicted of disorderly conduct if your speech is combined with non-verbal behavior that hinders the officer(s) from performing their duties.
If you have been arrested for disorderly conduct, contact us immediately so that we may begin preparing your case. We offer a free initial consultation and work hard to help our clients avoid jail time and other criminal penalties.
What is Disorderly Intoxication?
Disorderly intoxication is related to, but not identical to, the crime of disorderly conduct. Under Florida law, a person commits disorderly intoxication in one of two ways:
- By endangering the safety of persons or property while intoxicated; or
- Causing a public disturbance while intoxicated.
When the State alleges someone committed disorderly intoxication (public drunkenness) by causing a public disturbance, the offense is almost identical to the crime of disorderly conduct. Basically, the only difference is the added requirement of public intoxication. As a result, the defenses available to someone charged with disorderly conduct apply with equal force to someone charged with disorderly intoxication. A person charged with disorderly intoxication also can raise the defense that there is a lack of proof that they were intoxicated. Law enforcement officers who make disorderly intoxication arrests rarely, if ever, ask the defendant to take a breath alcohol test.
If you are accused of endangering the safety of people or property while you are intoxicated, the State has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that your conduct posed a danger to public safety in some way. Endangering public safety is very similar to a “breach of the peace,” so many of the same defenses can be utilized if you are charged in this way.
Disorderly Conduct and Disorderly Intoxication Penalties
According to Florida law, disorderly conduct and disorderly intoxication are second-degree misdemeanors. Accordingly, people who are found guilty of either crime may face penalties that include fines of up to $500, up to 6 months of probation, a maximum of 60 days in jail, or both. That’s why it is so important to hire an experienced defense attorney as soon as possible to defend you.
Over the years, we have represented hundreds of clients charged with disorderly conduct or disorderly intoxication. There is a good chance that we have dealt with your type of case and have represented clients who shared similar needs and concerns that you may have. Feel free to browse through the results section of our site for a representative sample of some of our past cases and the results we have achieved for our clients.
Additional Disorderly Conduct Resources
36 CFR § 2.34 – Disorderly conduct – Federal disorderly conduct law prohibiting certain conduct on lands and waters within a park area that are under the legislative jurisdiction of the United States.
Contact an Experienced Miami Disorderly Conduct Lawyer
By taking the immediate action of hiring an experienced Miami disorderly conduct lawyer to defend you, you are minimizing the chances a disorderly conduct conviction will have lasting consequences for your career, personal life, and reputation.
CALL US NOW for a CONFIDENTIAL CONSULTATION at (305) 538-4545, or simply take a moment to fill out our confidential and secure intake form.* The additional details you provide will greatly assist us in responding to your inquiry.
*Due to the large number of people who contact our law firm requesting our assistance, it is strongly suggested that you take the time to provide us with specific details regarding your case by filling out our confidential and secure intake form. The additional details you provide will greatly assist us in responding to your inquiry in a timely and appropriate manner.
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The material on this page represents general legal advice. Since the law is continually changing, some of the provisions contained here may be out of date. It is always best to consult a criminal defense attorney about your legal rights and responsibilities regarding your particular case.