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Denton Disorderly Conduct Attorney

Disorderly Conduct | Magaña & Van Dyke

Disorderly Conduct Lawyer in Texas

Disorderly conduct is a common criminal charge, usually committed by minors or students, and it covers several inappropriate and offensive behaviors.

You may be charged with this offense if you aggressively threaten someone in a public place or if you fire a weapon in your neighborhood. However, many people are arrested for seemingly harmless actions, such as gesturing to another person in a lewd way, looking through a neighbor's window, or walking into an occupied restroom.

If you are accused of disorderly conduct, it may feel as if you are being treated unfairly. A Denton disorderly conduct lawyer understands how to present your side of the story in a compelling way.

Call Magaña & Van Dyke at 940-382-1976 to learn about your legal options.

What Is Considered Disorderly Conduct in Texas?

In Texas, disorderly conduct is what is known as a "catch-all" charge. Most of these cases originate when someone makes a call about offensive behavior or when a person causes a disruption in a public place. A broad definition is engaging in any activity that disturbs the peace.

As stated in Texas Penal Code 42.01, the following can lead to disorderly conduct charges:

  • Causing a disruption through vulgar language or any phrase or statement in a public place that leads to people being offended.
  • Creating an odor that disrupts the peace. This could be caused by a marijuana cigarette, fumes from spray paint, or any other chemical that is noticeable or hazardous.
  • Gesturing at someone in an offensive manner. If you decide to give a person the middle finger, which causes a disturbance of the peace, it could be reported to police.
  • Making excessive noise in a public place.
  • Engaging in a physical altercation or subjecting another individual to verbal abuse in public.
  • Firing a gun in a public place.
  • Exposing genitalia in an obvious manner. If there are children around, you may face an indecency charge as well.
  • Looking into a person's home while trespassing or looking into someone else's hotel room.

Disorderly Conduct as a Reduced Charge in Texas

In many cases, lawyers may fight to have more serious offenses reduced to disorderly conduct. This is largely because the charge is only a misdemeanor and may not carry jail time or any of the other penalties arising from a felony conviction.

When criminal charges are reduced, it often happens as part of a plea agreement. In exchange for a lesser charge and greatly reduced penalties, you must agree to plead guilty. These deals can also be made in high profile cases where police are desperate for additional information.

Disorderly conduct is often associated with drug possession or public intoxication.

Texas Penalties for a Disorderly Conduct Conviction

The majority of disorderly conduct acts are classified as Class C misdemeanors. In Texas, this level is the least serious.

However, if you discharge a firearm in public or display a gun with the intent to cause unrest, you may be convicted of a Class B misdemeanor.

Conviction penalties for disorderly conduct include, but are not limited to:

  • Class C Misdemeanor: A fine of up to $500
  • Class B Misdemeanor: A fine of up to $2,000 and up to 180 days imprisonment

Many people believe that being convicted of a relatively minor crime will not affect their chances of employment. However, a disorderly conduct conviction will stay on your criminal record, which means that it can show up on a background check. Many potential employers see a criminal conviction as a red flag and may stop communicating with you once they learn about your past.

A criminal record may also make it difficult to continue your education. For example, most universities have hard and fast rules about the conduct of current and potential students. A student who breaks any state or federal laws may be suspended or expelled.

Contact Our Denton County Disorderly Conduct Defense Attorneys

There are many ways to get a disorderly conduct charge dismissed. Under Section 42.01 of the Texas Penal Code, self-defense or protection from an animal can be used as a defense if you are being accused of discharging or displaying a weapon. If you were arrested for vulgar language or offensive gestures, it might be argued that you had no intention of causing harm. You may be able to claim that you yelled on accident or that your actions were not directed at anyone in particular.

Contact our Denton disorderly conduct attorneys at 940-382-1976 for a free consultation to discuss the details of your case.

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