Disorderly conduct and disorderly public intoxication are two Florida offenses that sound minor, but both are second degree misdemeanors, carrying penalties of up to 60 days in jail and/or a $500 fine. If you are facing either of these charges, don’t plead guilty before you explore your options with criminal defense attorneys in Gainesville.
A person can commit the crime of disorderly conduct in either of two ways:
- 1. By committing acts that
a) corrupt the public morals or
b) outrage the sense of public decency or
c) affect the peace and quiet of persons who may witness them.
- 2. By brawling, fighting, or other conduct that breaches the peace.
If you have been charged with disorderly conduct, criminal defense attorneys in Gainesville may be able to raise these and other defenses:
First Amendment/ Freedom of Speech. Speech alone will not constitute disorderly conduct, unless the speech amounted to “fighting words” (words likely to cause an average person to fight) or words that would create a danger of harm to others like shouting “fire” in a crowded theater.
Self-defense. Self-defense can be raised when the accused was not the initial aggressor or instigator of mutual combat.
Disorderly Public Intoxication
A person commits the offense of disorderly public intoxication either by:
- Being intoxicated and endangering the safety of another person or property; or
- By drinking or being intoxicated in public and causing a disturbance.
If you have been charged with disorderly public intoxication, criminal defense attorneys in Gainesville may be able to raise the following defenses:
Lack of intoxication. Whether a person is intoxicated or not is a subjective evaluation and can be contested.
Not in a public place. A “public place” is a “place where the public has a right to be. For example, a person on his front porch is not in a public place.
Consequences of Guilty Plea
It may seem easier to simply plead guilty and put the incident behind you, but a criminal conviction can have consequences apart from a fine or jail time. With background checks becoming increasingly common, a misdemeanor on your record could cost you a job, a home, or a professional license. The subjective language of the laws for both disorderly conduct and disorderly public intoxication provide many opportunities for an experienced criminal defense attorney to mount a successful defense.
Contact a Gainesville Criminal Defense Attorney
If you are facing criminal charges, it is important to understand the potential consequences. For answers to your questions about disorderly conduct and other criminal offenses, call the Law Offices of Richard Mercure, PA – RPM Law at (352) 222-2047.