Anne Arundel Disorderly Conduct Lawyer

Chances are at some point in time you may have seen someone who has behaved in a way that could be considered disorderly conduct in Maryland. Disorderly conduct is a catch-all term that law enforcement uses when a person has not necessarily committed an offense, but they are acting in such a way that could be considered disturbing the peace.

If you have been charged with disorderly conduct and would like to know more about the next steps, contact an Anne Arundel disorderly conduct lawyer as soon as possible. An experienced criminal attorney could explain what to expect and potentially help to avoid excessive consequences.

What Constitutes Disorderly Conduct? 

Maryland Criminal Code Section 10-201 is the state statute that prohibits both disorderly conduct and disturbing the peace. The two charges are similar and often go hand-in-hand with related laws such as those prohibiting public intoxication.

The charge is overarching and concerns the overall behavior and the public’s perception of the behavior. For example, the police may see people stopping to gawk at someone who could be screaming at the top of their lungs, banging on pots and pans on the streets, or climbing a tree. If the officers fail to calm the person, they will charge the individual with disorderly conduct.

Since Maryland’s disorderly conduct law is rather ambiguous and open to interpretation, it is important to have the advice of an Anne Arundel disorderly conduct lawyer who could help to explain the statutes in laymen’s terms. As convictions for disorderly conduct often vary depending on specific judges, a skilled attorney could help to ensure the defendant’s charges are correct.

Legal Definition

Under Section 10-201, a variety of behaviors can be considered disorderly conduct and are prohibited in Maryland, including unreasonably making too much noise or behaving in a way that disturbs the public peace.

As a general rule, a person cannot be charged with disorderly conduct unless they are actually disturbing someone. Sections 10-201(c)(1) to 10-201(c)(6) list all actions that Maryland considers disorderly conduct, including:

  • Obstructing someone’s access to a public place
  • Failing to obey an order by law enforcement that would prevent disturbance of public peace
  • Making unreasonably loud noise

Places Where Disorderly Conduct Laws Are Enforced

Section 10-201(a)(3) lists all of the public places that enforce disorderly conduct laws, such as:

  • A public building
  • A public street, parking lot, sidewalk or right of way
  • A public park or other grounds
  • A hotel or motel
  • A restaurant, store, shopping center, or other place of business
  • A place of public worship
  • A public or private school

Penalties for Disorderly Conduct

As stated above, Maryland treats all disorderly conduct and disturbing the peace charges as misdemeanors. Under Section 10-201(d), an individual who is convicted of disorderly conduct could face up to 60 days in jail and a maximum fine of $500.

Repeated disorderly conduct convictions could have more severe consequences, especially if alcohol is involved. Individuals may have their license taken away, be forced to attend alcohol or anger management classes, and could even be evicted from their home.

Alternative Resolutions to Disorderly Conduct Charges

In a disorderly conduct case, there could be a proposed agreement between the defense and the state in which a person would complete something in exchange for a dismissal or something called a stet. This could include community service, an alcohol class if the person was drunk in public, or it could be something the prosecutor elects not to prosecute in exchange for completing some other program or class.

Why Work With a Lawyer for Disorderly Conduct Charges?

Many people consider disorderly conduct to be a minor offense, but the charge still carries the potential for incarceration. A prosecutor is not permitted to negotiate with an unrepresented defendant and can only ask how they wish to plead. In contrast, an attorney could reach out in advance of the court date and speak directly to the prosecutor. At the very least, a skilled lawyer could explore the option of an alternative resolution in exchange for a dismissal. An individual who is acting alone may not be able to take these steps.

Get in Contact With an Anne Arundel Disorderly Conduct Attorney 

An experienced attorney could help to reduce penalties associated with disorderly conduct charges and help defend your reputation. By speaking with someone who may know the several statutes of the law well, you could learn more about your charges and prepare yourself for any potential court dates.

An Anne Arundel disorderly conduct lawyer could be the person to help you fight these charges and avoid fines and/or jail time.