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Disorderly Conduct Lawyer in Pennsylvania

Hire a Disorderly Conduct Lawyer in Pennsylvania to Fight for Your Rights

An experienced Disorderly Conduct lawyer in Pennsylvania is critical to have on your side. At Kitay Law Offices, we routinely fight Disorderly Conduct charges in Pennsylvania. We have more than one criminal lawyer on staff who can help!

We understand that these charges can be overwhelming, but we’re here to help. With more than 25 years of experience, we know how best to defend against these types of charges. Contact us today for a free consultation and learn how we can fight for your rights! There’s no time to waste after your arrest for Disorderly Conduct.

What is Disorderly Conduct?

Disorderly Conduct involves acting in an unlawful manner with the intent to cause annoyance, alarm, or public inconvenience. The authorities can charge it as either a summary offense or a misdemeanor depending on the circumstances.

To receive a conviction for Disorderly Conduct, the prosecutor must prove that you:

  1. Created a hazardous or physically offensive condition which served no legitimate purpose;
  2. Used obscene language or gestures;
  3. Made unreasonable noise; or
  4. Engaged in fighting, threatening, violent, or tumultuous behavior.

Importantly, however, the prosecution must ALSO prove that you engaged in one or more of the above items “…with intent to cause public inconvenience, annoyance or alarm…” or that you recklessly created that sort of risk.

Male facing away from camera in handcuffs due to disorderly conduct. Wearing jeans.

An experienced Disorderly Conduct Lawyer at Kitay Law Offices will be able to build the best defense possible for your case.

Is Disorderly Conduct a misdemeanor or a felony in Pennsylvania?

Most often, Disorderly Conduct is actually charged as a Summary offense. This means it does not fall into the specific grading criteria under the law. However, the authorities may charge it as a third-degree misdemeanor if they believe you intended to cause “substantial harm or serious inconvenience.” Further, it may be charged as a misdemeanor if your conduct continued after you were reasonably warned to stop.

Can Disorderly Conduct occur if I am on private property?

Yes, you can be charged with Disorderly Conduct even if you are on private property. While Pennsylvania law requires that your actions must affect the “public,” you do not need to be on public property to be charged.

For example, perhaps you have an argument or a fight inside an apartment complex or at an amusement park. Often times, apartment complexes have controlled access so that only those who live in the apartment complex are typically on the property. Also, an amusement park typically charges admission such that only those who pay to get in are on the property.

An apartment complex and an amusement park are very different from a sidewalk along Main Street, but your actions in each of those locations may support Disorderly Conduct charges in Pennsylvania. This is because a “substantial group” of people may have access to places like an apartment complex or amusement park, even if they involve more controlled access than a public sidewalk.

What does it mean to create a hazardous or physically offensive condition?

You can potentially create a “hazardous or physically offensive condition” through any action that serves no legitimate purpose. A “hazardous condition” constitutes a circumstance involving potential danger or risk.

What qualifies as obscene language or gestures?

For decades, Pennsylvania has defined “obscene” language or gestures to mean those that typically relate to a sexual nature that do not have any other legitimate interest. Other interests that may be legitimate include literary, artistic, political, or scientific purposes. Pennsylvania courts have consistently confirmed this interpretation. In other words, it is not an obscene gesture if it serves a legitimate interest.

What is unreasonable noise?

Whether you have created an unreasonable noise depends on the circumstances. Generally, Pennsylvania law defines unreasonable noise as “not fitting or proper in respect to the conventional standards of organized society or a legally constituted community.”

In other words, if your noise is loud enough that it disrupts the peace and quiet of those who live in the area or are nearby, then you may receive charges for Disorderly Conduct. To be clear, the noise level that is acceptable in one community or setting will be different from all others.

How can the prosecutor prove fighting, threatening, violent or tumultuous behavior?

This is a question that the Pennsylvania courts have dealt with many times over the years. Most importantly, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has interpreted these terms in the context of Disorderly Conduct.

In the 2008 case of Commonwealth v. Fedorek, the court determined that fighting, threatening, violent, or tumultuous behavior can exist even when directed at a single person. In other words, it does not need to be directed toward a large number of people in order to be affecting the public.

In an ordinary case, this type of behavior will be graded as a Summary offense. However, if the conduct rises to the level of intending to cause substantial harm or serious inconvenience, you may face charges for a third-degree misdemeanor.

Penalties for Disorderly Conduct

In Pennsylvania, the penalties for Disorderly Conduct can vary depending on the severity of the offense. For a summary offense, those found guilty of Disorderly Conduct face up to 90 days in jail and a fine of up to $300. If the intent of the actor is to cause substantial harm or serious inconvenience, then it is considered a misdemeanor of the third degree which carries a maximum penalty of one year in jail and a fine of up to $2,500.

Defenses to Disorderly Conduct charges

In Pennsylvania, the prosecution must establish several elements to bring a Disorderly Conduct charge. Consequently, defense strategies often involve challenging the claims related to these case components.

The prosecution has to demonstrate that the defendant had the intention to engage in Disorderly Conduct. Proving intent is a challenging task in any case, including Disorderly Conduct cases. Knowledge is another factor that can help establish intent. However, if the defendant was unaware of causing a disturbance, they may escape criminal charges.

Additional defenses against Disorderly Conduct may include self-defense, age, intoxication, and instances where someone provokes the individual. Your criminal defense attorney will explain what defense may work best for your case.

Contact Kitay Law Offices for a strong defense against Disorderly Conduct charges

If you have active charges for Disorderly Conduct in Pennsylvania, it’s important to understand the potential penalties and defenses that may be available to you. A Disorderly Conduct Attorney can help protect your rights and explore all of your options.

At Kitay Law Offices, we defend clients against Disorderly Conduct charges every day. Our team has extensive knowledge of the law and can guide you through each step of the legal process so that you get a fair outcome from your case. Contact us today to start building your defense. We’ll work to minimize or avoid jail time.

"If you don't win, you don't pay!"




Call today for a free consultation.