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New York Disorderly Conduct Attorney

Disorderly conduct involves creating a public disturbance by engaging in aggressive behavior, fighting, making unreasonable noise, or otherwise attempting to disturb and disrupt the public. In New York, disorderly conduct is a violation, which means that it is not considered a crime. However, a charge of disorderly conduct can still have significant negative consequences up to and including jail time. From their office in Goshen, the New York criminal defense attorneys at Dupée & Monroe, P.C. help people throughout the Hudson Valley and Orange County who have been charged with disorderly conduct.

Types of Disorderly Conduct

New York’s disorderly conduct rule is codified at Penal Law Section 240.20. Disorderly conduct includes any of the below actions undertaken with the “intent to cause public inconvenience, annoyance or harm,” or if the defendant “recklessly creates a risk” of inconvenience, annoyance, or harm. Prohibited activities include:

  • Fighting
  • Engaging in violent or threatening behavior
  • Making unreasonable noise
  • Using obscene language or making obscene gestures in public
  • Obstructing vehicle or pedestrian traffic
  • Congregating with a group and refusing a police officer’s lawful order to disperse
  • Creating a hazardous or “physically offensive” condition that serves no legitimate purpose

New York Penal Law Section 240.21 also prohibits disturbing or making unreasonable noise within 300 feet of a religious service, funeral, burial, or memorial service. Protestors and even members of the press are sometimes arrested on disorderly conduct charges when police fear that public demonstrations are getting out of hand. Just because the police choose to disperse a crowd, however, does not mean you must suffer from a disorderly conduct conviction. A zealous criminal defense lawyer can help you fight for your rights and defend against unjust charges.

Penalties for Disorderly Conduct

Disorderly conduct is a violation, rather than a misdemeanor or a felony. Violations do not result in a criminal record but they do still carry penalties. Disorderly conduct charges can disrupt your work, family, and social life, even if they do not result in a criminal record.

A conviction of disorderly conduct in New York is punishable by:

  • Up to 15 days in county jail
  • Fine of up to $250
  • Community service

Defending Against Disorderly Conduct Charges

A dedicated New York criminal defense attorney can help you fight disorderly conduct charges to avoid jail time and any ancillary disruptions to your life that such charges bring. Common defenses include justification, meaning that the conduct was either required or justified by law in order to avoid imminent injury to another person, or duress, meaning that the defendant was forced to perform the conduct against his or her will, for example, if the defendant was caught up in a fight or was threatened in order to coerce their behavior.

The nature of the defendant may also play a role in the defense: If the defendant suffers from a mental disorder or defect, they may not be able to have the requisite intent necessary for a charge of disorderly conduct. Additionally, minors under age 16 cannot be held criminally responsible for disorderly conduct.

Free Speech Challenges

Defendants and free speech advocates have, in the past, tried to challenge disorderly conduct laws as violative of free speech rights. Defendants have tried to claim that their right to publicly assemble or speak their mind in public protect them from disorderly conduct charges. These challenges have been largely unsuccessful. Courts interpret our constitutional rights to allow for some limitations based on a need to keep the public safe, orderly, and secure.

Help is Available for Your New York Disorderly Conduct Arrest

The lawyers at Dupée & Monroe have decades of experience helping people like you build the strongest defense possible against disorderly conduct charges. If you have been arrested for disorderly conduct or other offenses in Goshen, Orange County or anywhere in the Hudson Valley region, contact Dupée & Monroe, P.C. for immediate assistance from experienced criminal defense attorneys.

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