The offense of disorderly conduct is what is generally known as breach of the peace. It is defined by A.R.S. § 13-2904(A) and can be committed in several different but related ways. If you or somebody you love is facing disorderly conduct charges in Arizona, speak with a Phoenix disorderly conduct attorney as soon as possible to preserve your legal rights.
A person commits disorderly conduct if, with intent to disturb the peace and quiet of a neighborhood, family or person, or with knowledge of doing so, such person:
If you’ve been charged with any of the above, you need a Phoenix criminal defense attorney experienced in handling disorderly conduct charges. Contact Stone Rose Law today to schedule a free consultation.
There are two different mental states that the State can choose from in prosecuting a defendant for any version of disorderly conduct. The first is “intentionally,” which would apply whenever someone engaged in the conduct described in the statute intending that such conduct disrupt the peace of others. Even if the defendant does not specifically intend to disturb others, he can still be convicted of disorderly conduct if it can be shown that he knew his conduct was having that result. For instance, if a college student throws a massive party with loud music, receives noise complaints from neighbors, and refuses to turn down the music, he may be held to have knowingly disturbed his neighbors with the music even if he did not intend that result. Learn more about how disorderly conduct is charged in Arizona be speaking with a knowledgeable Phoenix disorderly conduct attorney.
A charge of disorderly conduct often accompanies other charges and typically serves as a catch-all offense for the State. This is especially true in domestic violence cases involving allegations of assault or criminal damage, which if committed generally involve “fighting, violent or seriously disruptive behavior.” While fighting and violent behavior are fairly self-explanatory, what constitutes “seriously disruptive behavior” has proven to be difficult for the courts to ascertain. With respect to “seriously disruptive behavior” the Arizona Supreme Court has stated as follows:
To “disrupt” means “to throw into disorder or turmoil…to interrupt to the extent of stopping.” The statute requires the disruption to be “serious” – something to cause considerable distress, anxiety or inconvenience.” We construe “seriously disruptive behavior” to be of the same general nature as fighting or violence or conduct liable to provoke that response in others, and thus to threaten the continuation of some event, function or activity.” In re Julio L, 197 Ariz. 1, 3 (2000). No matter what associated charges you’re facing with a disorderly conduct charge, the Phoenix disorderly conduct lawyers at Stone Rose Law are here to help.
Another issue that arises in disorderly conduct cases is whether the State is required to prove that someone’s peace was disturbed by the defendant’s conduct. The answer to this issue appears to vary depending on what mental state the State is alleging the defendant had at the time he allegedly committed the offense. Based on the plain language of the statute, if a person makes unreasonable noise to disrupt the peace of their neighbors, they are likely guilty of Disorderly Conduct regardless of whether the neighbors were actually disturbed. However, one cannot knowingly cause a result that does not occur. Accordingly, if the prosecution is based on a defendant knowingly disturbing his neighbors by making unreasonable noise, like in our earlier example, then the State should be required to prove that the neighbors’ peace was actually disturbed. See In re Julio L., 197 Ariz. 1, 3 (2000).
Disorderly conduct is a class 1 misdemeanor in nearly all cases. However, if it involves the reckless use or display of a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument it is a class 6 felony. Regardless, disorderly conduct is a serious charge. If you have been investigated for, arrested for, or charged with disorderly conduct you need an experienced disorderly conduct attorney to protect your rights. Call Stone Rose Law now for a free consultation at (480) 498-8998.