Disorderly conduct is a criminal offense in Texas that refers to a crime committed against public order and decency. In Texas, “disorderly conduct” is a common charge that covers a broad range of behavior. It can take the form of sights, sounds, smells, and other conduct that tends to offend or is likely to lead to a disturbance.
Some people find a disorderly conduct charge meaningless, but there can be serious consequences: a conviction will go on your criminal record and can impact your future. This is particularly important for youth who think they can do something obscene or use abusive language in public without consequences. Disorderly conduct is a common underage or student criminal charge.
What is Considered Disorderly Conduct?
Disorderly conduct is a “catch-all” charge in Texas. Most cases originate when someone makes a call about offensive behavior, or when a person causes a disruption in a public place. It can be broadly defined as engaging in any activity that disturbs the peace.
According the Texas Penal Code, the following can lead to disorderly conduct charges:
- Using vulgar language or any phrase or statement that leads to people being offended in a public place.
- Creating an odor that disrupts the peace.
- Gesturing to someone in an offensive manner.
- Excessive noise making 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.
- Looking into a person’s home while trespassing, or looking into someone else’s hotel room.
If you are convicted of disorderly conduct in Texas, the punishment depends on the classification of the crime. In most cases, disorderly conduct is charged as a Class C misdemeanor, which carries with it a fine not to exceed $500. In some cases, like displaying a firearm in a public place with the intention of inciting fear in others, you could be charged with a Class B misdemeanor. A Class B misdemeanor carries with it possible imprisonment up to 180 days and/or a fine not to exceed $2,000.
Houston, Texas Disorderly Conduct Defense Lawyer
If you are accused of disorderly conduct, it may feel like you are being treated unreasonably for something you believe was harmless. You may also be worried about having a misdemeanor on your permanent criminal record. A Houston criminal defense lawyer understands how to present your side of the story in a positive way to prove your actions did not constitute a crime. Contact us today for more information.