The police have many tools to remove people from public streets and the charge of “disorderly conduct” is one of their favorites. Often, a night of revelry can end up in a jail cell, and the person arrested may have no idea why they’ve been pulled in. If this has happened to you or someone you love, you’ll need the services of an experienced disorderly conduct defense attorney to get you out of the cell and keep you out of the court system.
Defining the Crime
There are many circumstances that Colorado law describes as “disorderly conduct.” While the behavior itself is sometimes simply celebratory and totally innocent, other times, it becomes potentially criminal if the actor intentionally, knowingly or recklessly behaves in a way that disturbs or threatens harm to others (CRS § 18-9-106):
- by making a coarse comment, display or gesture in public that may incite others to breach the peace;
- by making a loud and unreasonable noise in a public place or near the residences of others;
- by fighting in public; or
- by discharging or displaying a firearm or deadly weapon (without being a police officer).
Law enforcement often uses a disorderly conduct charge to take control over people who are bothering others, causing a disruption in public or even simply annoying the officer on the scene, which means the arrest and subsequent charge can be relatively arbitrary to the officer present at the time. Acts that some police officers find amusing but not threatening, others may declare to be sufficiently concerning to justify an arrest. It is the arrest and the subsequent criminal charge that can create havoc in the life of the accused.
Defending a Disorderly Conduct Charge
Because the disorderly conduct standard is so subjective to the arresting officer, it is critical that a legal defense is mounted as quickly and comprehensively as possible. To gather evidence to refute the police claims, the experienced defense attorney will get to work immediately to talk to witnesses, view photos or other visual evidence, and review the arrest and booking reports. In many cases, the accused has been acting in self-defense against an aggressive police officer or another person on the street. They may have been exercising their First Amendment right to free speech and offended the officer by doing so. Or, the officer may be stimulated by other events that occurred during their shift and taken their frustration or anger out on the accused.
Do you need help with a disorderly conduct charge? Call the defense attorneys at Pollart Miller today to get the help you deserve!