If you are found behaving in public in a way that will upset, anger or antagonize the people around you, you may be charged with disorderly conduct. Fighting, screaming and making obscene gestures are some of the ways you can draw a charge. For example, someone who stands outside a South Side bar shouting obscenities and shaking their fists at the passersby can be found guilty of disorderly conduct.
In Pittsburgh, disorderly conduct isn’t behavior that causes a real, concrete threat to others. Instead, it simply causes alarm, inconvenience, and/or annoyance. Not surprisingly, alcohol frequently plays a role in disorderly conduct crimes.
What is Disorderly Conduct?
In Pennsylvania, a person is guilty of disorderly conduct if they intentionally cause public inconvenience, annoyance or alarm, or recklessly create a risk.
- Engaging in fighting, threatening, violent or tumultuous behavior
- Making unreasonable noise
- Using obscene language or making an obscene gesture
- Creating a hazardous or physically offensive condition by actions that serve no legitimate purpose
How The Charge Can Harm You
Disorderly conduct is usually a summary offense, punished with up to 90 days in jail and a $300 fine. If your intent was to cause substantial harm or inconvenience, or if you persisted in your conduct after a reasonable warning or being asked to quit, it is a misdemeanor of the third degree. You can be punished with up to a year in jail and a fine up to $2,500.
Consequences of a Conviction – Contact a Pittsburgh Disorderly Conduct Attorney
Even a misunderstanding or simple mistake that leads to a disorderly conduct conviction can be harmful down the road. If convicted, you will have a permanent criminal record that can hurt your opportunities for employment, housing, financial aid, and much more. Don’t let a situation like this plague your future. Hiring an experienced Pittsburgh criminal lawyer can help you avoid the penalties you face.