Disorder in the Court! – Fighting the Disorderly Conduct Charge

Have you received a charge for disorderly conduct or disturbing the peace and wondered what exactly you did to deserve it? Well, you are not the only person that experiences this. Disorderly conduct cases are quite common in the Maryland criminal courts. These charges in Maryland (and most other states) are quite vague under their statute and therefore quite confusing. Whatever the circumstances behind your arrest, you are probably surprised to now be facing criminal charges that can not be taken lightly. It is important that you contact our criminal defense attorney quickly to receive legal advice.

In Maryland, if you have been charged with disorderly conduct, you have been accused of one of the following:

  • Acting in a disorderly manner that disturbs the peace
    • This applies whether you are on another’s land, in a public place, or on public transportation
  • Blocking the passing of people into or out of a public place
    • This includes such places as restaurants, stores, shopping centers, taverns, places of business, public buildings, parking lots, streets, sidewalks, parks, common areas in apartments, hotels, resorts, amusement parks, swimming pools, golf courses, race tracks, movie theaters, schools, places of worship, bus stops, airports, docks, and railway stations;
  • Not obeying a lawful order by the police made in an attempt to keep the peace
  • Making unreasonable loud noises or disturbing the peace of another

You can see that these prohibited acts are quite vague. The sky is the limit on what could be viewed as violating these laws, giving a police officer quite a bit of discretion in deciding whether to arrest you if they believe you are misbehaving. Often, they go over board and charge you for conduct that was completely legal. They possibly even infringe on your rights to free speech. In many instances, perfectly legal practice of your right to free speech may appear to violate one of the violating acts listed above. Courts have interpreted the law very narrowly in Maryland and distinguish between disorderly conduct and the exercise of free speech. They want to be sure that they are protecting the Constitutional right to free speech.

Police officers often do not know of these distinctions and arrest based on conduct that seems disorderly in their mind. This is where we come in. The fact that a police officer is given so much discretion under such a vague law is why you need an experienced Maryland attorney to fight these charges. We fight for our clients so they avoid the sentence of up to 60 days of jail time and/or $500 fine that this charge carries. Further, a guilty sentence in your case will leave a lasting mark on your record. This is why you need a good defense lawyer to fight the charge. If you the charges are not dropped or dismissed completely, there is a still a chance that your sentence can be reduced to a civil penalty, or you could receive Probation Before Judgment (PBJ) which would avoid jail time.

If you have been arrested for disorderly conduct or disturbing the peace, contact our office immediately. Our Howard County Criminal Attorney will go over the incident with you and discuss the best ways to attack these serious charges against you. Contact Us in at 410-730-4404 for you FREE Consultation.