Disorderly Conduct In Florida
If you have been charged with disorderly conduct in Florida, you should speak to a criminal defense attorney as soon as you can. Often, people assume that disorderly conduct is not a serious offense. Well, if you have been charged with disorderly conduct in Florida, you should avoid this kind of thinking. Florida takes the offense of disorderly conduct quite seriously. In Florida, the penalties of disorderly conduct include jail time, probation, and fines.
Below is a more in-depth look at the offense of disorderly conduct in Florida.
What Is Disorderly Conduct in Florida?
According to Florida Statute 877.03, disorderly conduct, otherwise referred to as a “breach of peace”, includes any behavior that causes outrage on the sense of public decency, affects the peace and quiet of others or corrupts public morals. According to the law, fighting or brawling is also considered disorderly conduct in Florida. Generally, disorderly conduct is any behavior that disrupts a public space shared with other people.
Other specific examples of acts that are considered disorderly conduct in Florida include;
- Loitering in certain or restricted areas
- Using abusive or obscene language in a public space
- Inciting a riot
- Creating a scene by arguing loudly with someone
Penalties for Disorderly Conduct in Florida
According to Florida law, disorderly conduct or a breach of peace is a misdemeanor of the second degree. In Florida, a misdemeanor of the second degree is punishable by up to sixty days in jail, up to six months of probation, and/or a fine of $500.
For most first-time offenders, being found guilty of disorderly conduct means a probation sentence and a permanent criminal record. Usually, an individual who commits the offense of disorderly conduct for the first time will not be sent to jail unless, among other things, their behavior involved highly disrespectful or disruptive actions towards the police or posed an endangerment to public safety. On the other hand, being sent to jail is often a possibility for repeat offenders and individuals with extensive criminal histories.
It is crucial to note that a riot offense can be charged as a third-degree felony in Florida, and a public fight can be charged as a first-degree misdemeanor. If you are facing one of these charges, you risk suffering more severe penalties. For instance, a first-degree misdemeanor results in an imprisonment term of up to one year.
Defending a Disorderly Conduct Charge
There are several possible defenses to disorderly conduct charges. An experienced criminal defense attorney will know which defense to apply in your case. Below are some of the most common defenses to disorderly conduct charges:
- Right to freedom of speech
- The act did not happen in a public space
When it comes to the defense of the “right to freedom of speech,” it is crucial to note that this defense will not help you if it is determined that you used “fighting words” or “words like shouts of ‘fire’ in a crowded theater.” Fighting words are those words that when uttered, either inflict injury or tend to incite immediate breach of peace. On the other hand, “words like shouts of ‘fire’ in a crowded theater” are false words used to report some physical hazard in situations where such a false report creates danger of injury to other people. An experienced criminal attorney can evaluate the specific allegations of your case and help you formulate the best possible defense strategies for you.
Contact a Fort Lauderdale Criminal Attorney
If you are being charged with disorderly conduct in Florida, contact an experienced Fort Lauderdale criminal attorney at Joyce A. Julian, P.A., to discuss your case and increase your chances of seeing a positive outcome.