Pennsylvania Disorderly Conduct Lawyer

Disorderly conduct is a criminal offense in Pennsylvania. This means that you could face potential incarceration and fines. A conviction for disorderly conduct is going to result in you having a criminal record, which can affect future opportunities when employers and landlords conduct background checks.  It is important to know the laws of disorderly conduct, including potential penalties you face as well as options for defending yourself. Contact a Pennsylvania disorderly conduct lawyer so you will have an advocate protecting your interests as you respond to these charges.

Pennsylvania Laws on Disorderly Conduct

Pennsylvania Code Section 5503 defines the offense of disorderly conduct.  Under the law, you can be found guilty of this offense if you act in an unlawful manner with the intent to cause annoyance, alarm, or public inconvenience. You can also be charged with the crime if you engage in these actions with reckless disregard for the fact that you create the risk of causing annoyance, alarm, or public inconvenience. Public is defined to include highways; places of business or amusement; neighborhoods; or any places that are open that people generally have access to.

The actions that you can take that could result in a disorderly conduct charge include:

  • Fighting
  • Threatening someone
  • Engaging in tumultuous or violent behavior
  • Making obscene gestures or using obscene language
  • Creating a physically offensive condition or hazard for no legitimate reason

Generally, you are charged with a summary offense for disorderly conduct. This means that the potential consequences include up to 90 days in jail and a fine of up to $300. However, if your intention is to cause substantial harm or serious inconvenience, then you will be charged with a third degree misdemeanor. You’ll also face third degree misdemeanor charges if you are given a reasonable warning to stop the disruptive behavior and you persist in your actions. This makes contacting a Pennsylvania disorderly conduct lawyer even more important as a third degree misdemeanor can result in up to one year incarceration and a fine up to $2,000.

When a PA Disorderly Conduct Lawyer is Necessary

A Pennsylvania disorderly conduct lawyer can provide you with legal representation after you are arrested for disorderly conduct. This representation can include:

  • Representing you in a bail hearing and arguing for no bail or very low bail.
  • Assisting you in deciding whether to plead guilty or not guilty.
  • Trying to negotiate with the prosecutor so you can reduce the charges, avoid jail time, and face minimal penalties if you plead guilty.
  • Raising defenses in court, or helping you to make a judge or jury doubt your guilt. Defenses could include a lack of intent to be disruptive, or a legitimate reason for acting as you did. Additionally, freedom of speech and freedom to gather and protest often come into play.

The right course of action for you in responding to a disorderly conduct charge is going to vary depending upon the circumstances.  Although this offense can seem relatively minor, it is still a crime and not just an infraction and you need to take the charges very seriously.  Contact a Pennsylvania disorderly conduct lawyer as soon as you can if you have been arrested so you’ll have someone knowledgeable helping you to protect your legal rights.