What is Disorderly Conduct in Arizona?
Arizona is a rare state in that it doesn’t have penalties for public intoxication or drunk and disorderly. But law enforcement will get involved if you cause a public disturbance while intoxicated. In that case, the responding officers can charge you with disorderly conduct.
Other states treat public intoxication and drunk and disorderly as a minor offense similar to a traffic ticket. But in Arizona, you’ll face a class 1 misdemeanor. That means that you’ll be put in jail for up to six months and face a fine of $2,500 as well as three years of probation.
Even if it seems like a disorderly conduct charge is no big deal based on what you’ve seen on TV shows or in movies, realize that an Arizona charge could mean it’s time to find a criminal defense attorney.
We’ll explain what could count as disorderly conduct, what to do about facing charges, and how to find a good criminal defense attorney to protect your reputation.
Examples of Arizona disorderly conduct
Arizona law 13-2904 outlines disorderly conduct. The law is fairly broad to allow officers to detain individuals who are behaving in a way that is causing disruption. Here’s the definition of disorderly conduct according to the law.
“A person commits disorderly conduct if, with intent to disturb the peace or quiet of a neighborhood, family or person, or with knowledge of doing so, such person” and then it goes on to outline six possible scenarios. Those scenarios include the following.
- Disruptive or violent behavior
- Unreasonable noise levels
- Obscene or abusive language that is likely to provoke another person into retaliation
- Creating such a commotion that it prevents a lawful business transaction, meeting, gathering or procession
- Failing to obey orders to disperse in the interest of public safety, a hazard or emergency
- Reckless handling of a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument
Many of these definitions are intentionally broad. This allows law enforcement to act in the interest of the public to remove individuals who could pose a threat to them or provoke further misconduct.
But that doesn’t mean that a disorderly conduct charge is airtight. Your attorney can work with the evidence and details of your case to get the charges dropped or reduced to avoid jail and a criminal record.
What to do about facing disorderly conduct charges
Because disorderly conduct is a serious offense in Arizona that would mean you have a permanent arrest record, you should avoid such charges any way you can.
The best way to do that is to calm down and quiet down when law enforcement arrives on the scene and gives you a warning. Generally, if the individual quiets down when told to do so, the officers do not charge them with disorderly conduct.
Another way to avoid charges is to ensure you always have a designated driver or someone who looks out for people if you go out drinking. Because alcohol can inhibit your ability to think clearly and reasonably, your judgment will be impaired after drinking. That’s why it’s smart to be with someone who has their full faculties about them to help you make good decisions.
However, if these provisions don’t work or you’ve already been charged with disorderly conduct, get in touch with a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. If you don’t have a criminal record, you might be able to negotiate with the courts to avoid spending time in jail and acquiring a criminal record.
But the sooner you engage an attorney the better. Remember that anything you say while in police custody can and will be used against you so do your best to remain silent until your attorney is present.
Misdemeanor charges probably don’t sound that serious, but realize that in this case, they are serious and could damage your reputation. Contact our office immediately if you’re facing a disorderly conduct charge.