What Is Considered Disorderly Conduct?
In general, disorderly conduct laws allow the state to keep residents and visitors free from behavior that could harm themselves or others or unreasonably offensive behavior.
Under Tennessee law, disorderly conduct is defined by several different actions. Tennessee enacted these laws to maintain public safety, making it illegal to take certain actions that disturb the peace of others. Although commonly called disorderly conduct, they are also known as breaching the peace and public intoxication laws. In general, disorderly conduct laws allow the state to keep residents and visitors free from behavior that could harm themselves or others or unreasonably offensive behavior.
Anyone charged with disorderly conduct can benefit from the services of a well-versed Tennessee criminal defense attorney.
Types of Disorderly Conduct Laws
Several different types of behaviors can be illegal under disorderly conduct laws. Tennessee statutes address the three main areas of disorderly behavior as follows.
Any of the following behaviors exhibited in public with an intent to annoy the people constitutes a generic disorderly conduct offense:
- Fighting or threatening behaviors
- Refusing to obey an official order to disperse during an emergency
- Creating a hazardous condition without a legitimate purpose
- Being unreasonably noisy as to prevent others from lawful activities
You can be charged with public intoxication if you are present in public while under the influence of any intoxicating substance if one of the following happens:
- People or property are endangered
- People in the area are unreasonably annoyed
Although commonly known as “resisting arrest,” this offense can involve much broader conduct, even if you are not actually being arrested at the time. In Tennessee, it is an offense to “prevent or obstruct” and officer from completing the following activities:
Note that it is not considered a defense to resist even if the stop or arrest was unlawful, unless you are engaged in lawful self-defense.
Charges for Disorderly Conduct
How Much is a Disorderly Conduct Fine?
As per Tennessee laws, disorderly conduct and public intoxication are both Class C misdemeanors. Penalties for this misdemeanor include less than 30 days in jail and up to a $50 fine. On the other hand, resisting arrest is a Class B misdemeanor, carrying a penalty of not more than six months in jail and a $500 fine, unless a deadly weapon is used, in which case it is a Class A misdemeanor carrying up to one year in jail.
While these may or may not seem like significant penalties, you should always hire an experienced Tennessee criminal defense lawyer if you receive disorderly conduct charges for any behaviors. These charges can remain on your record and cause other problems in your life besides the potential for jail time and a fine. If you don’t take them seriously and hire an attorney to help you deal with them, they may come back to haunt you in the future.
Speak with an Experienced Tennessee Criminal Defense Attorney Today
If you face disorderly conduct charges, contact Raybin & Weissman, Attorneys at Law, to speak with a Tennessee criminal defense lawyer today. We can be reached by phone at 615-256-6666 or online. Our attorneys can explain your charges and options, helping to achieve the best possible outcome in your case. We can often arrange a plea deal on your behalf, reducing your charges and penalties, or even have your case entirely dropped. The sooner you contact us, the more we can do to help.